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July 1, 2014
Bar launches new look website

Members will be able to customize their Bar online profile page

New website The Florida Bar’s website is undergoing a major renovation and redesign. The vision for the design of the new website is to enhance Bar members’ experiences and simplify the interaction.

The new site will be launched in phases. The first phase will feature a new home page and a completely new, member-unique information page.

“One of the best features is the My Florida Bar page,” said Patricia Hohman, the Bar’s website content manager. “Members can log in and handle all of their Bar business from one location.”

After logging in, Florida lawyers may go to their private My Florida Bar page to upload a profile photo, update addresses, and eventually handle all Bar business from one area, such as paying annual fees, registering for CLE courses, and accessing their section or committee information.

For example, instead of going to the CLE section, members will log on to their unique page, which will list when their CLE hours are due, allow them to post CLE hours, and view upcoming courses. By simply clicking on the “show more” button members can see a full listing of courses they have already taken.

This customized page will also display My Sections, My Committees, and My Board Certifications.

There will still be a public member profile page, as before, via the Find a Lawyer search feature. From the My Florida Bar page, members may include a photo, practice areas, languages spoken, committee and section membership, education, or firm size.

The new home page visual design is more graphic and the site navigation is now at the top and the bottom of every page. The Daily News Summary will be posted every day by noon. Social media links are clearly available at the top and bottom of the home page.

“The website project started with a needed change to the platform used to support the Bar’s website,” explained Cynthia “Marcy” Jackson, director of administration at the Bar and CFO.

“Once the new platform was installed, we began to optimize our website presence by using some of the new functionality offered in the new foundation.

“We have redesigned the home page, with the goal of a cleaner, crisper site that is more efficient to maintain and easier for our users to navigate,” Jackson said.

Hopefully, the customized My Florida Bar membership page will encourage members to come to The Florida Bar website on a more frequent basis, Jackson said.

“As we move along in this project, every existing website component will be critically reviewed and redesigned, if necessary, to enhance the member’s experience and interaction with The Florida Bar,” she said.

There are big plans for the immediate future, and updating membership services, where members can register for meetings and “shop” for services and receive receipts for transactions, is next in the works.

Last redesigned four years ago, this major new look for will dramatically transform the site to give it a contemporary look featuring more graphics and simplifying the navigation.

“Technology is a rapidly changing environment and over the last decade many features, enhancements, and successes have been brought under the existing platform. This next iteration of The Florida Bar’s website will leverage the new technology to fulfill the expanding services and needs of our members, our staff, and future innovations,” said John Fazio, the Bar’s website technical manager.

While seeking ways to address technology concerns, the website team took advantage of the opportunity to streamline the organization of the entire site. Because different viewers have different intuitive navigation patterns, the site was redesigned to ensure that information is available from a variety of paths.

The content has been regrouped to more clearly meet the needs of various audiences visiting the site. The main user groups are lawyers, the public, and paralegals, and each group has a banner that links them to the information they most often use.

The initial phase of the major overhaul was a group effort: Bill Latini, project manager; Fazio; several key IT staff under the direction of Jackson; Hohman, who works with Francine Walker, director of the Bar’s Public Information and Bar Services Department; and advice from the Board of Governors Communications Committee.

[Revised: 08-29-2014]