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New JLSS website

You turn your back for 5 minutes...

Last week, the Law Society of Scotland launched a redesigned website for the Journal of the Law Society of Scotland, with minimal (if any) fanfare. Well, there may well have been a fanfare, but as I'm not a solicitor and so therefore not on their emailing list, I only found out when I went to check up on their news area last week. It doesn't even list it as something of note in their own News area...no press releases to The Firm Magazine, nor Scottish Legal News...is this some sort of terrible secret, not to be publicised to the world at large?

This is how it used to look (Feb 2008 image from Internet Archive):












This is how it looks now:













It is, however, a bit of a good news / bad news situation.

So we'll start cheerfully with The Good News:

It's pretty, it's shiny, and looks much more sleek and modern.

The JLSS now has blogs, yay! There are links from the homepage to both the Editor's blog, and the Law Society's blog too.

http://www.journalonline.co.uk/Blogs/

The Editor's blog launched on the 3rd October, which makes me think that that is possibly when the website was relaunched. Although there's no mention of the shiny new website in any of the three posts so far.

There's now an RSS feed for the News section, which means I won't have to remember to go in every few days to check to see I've not missed anything.

Also good - lots more content from each issue of JLSS is now available on the site.



Now...The Bad.

The Archive (used to be Library) area of the site is the part I use most, and therefore also the part where I see the changes most.

The current issue of the JLSS showing is the August issue. Previously, it would show the current issue, which in this case would be the September issue. The appearance of the newest issue at the top of the site gave us an idea whether our copy had gone missing or not. And as the solicitors always seem to get their copies before the Library subs turned up, we were able to refer to the current issue pdf when we got the familiar requests saying "X told me Y would be in the Journal this month, is it?". Now, we can't do that.

Wait...as I wrote this I double checked the site again - it's now the September issue showing. So, in the new way of working, does that mean the 'new' old issue appearing means the 'new'new issue is due out, ie October? Follow that convoluted sentence if ya can!

The search option is just plain stupid. Again, a before and after comparison.

December 2007:











And now:













See that glowing box in the top right? Yup, that's what used to be that lovely, restrictable search option, with 40+ categories to narrow it down by, the option to restrict it only to Journal material...

Now, you search all content, whether you like it or not. Thankfully, so far the magical "quotation marks" are helping, as you can see from my "company law" versus company law search results below:




Also, it's not helpful to not show the source of the results (news item, JLSS article?) in the returned hits. It means I have to click in to everything see if it's just a newsy snippet, or a 'proper' result from the Journal. And what's the ranking of the result? By relevance? Date? I have no idea, it doesn't say.

In other words, they removed a good, accurate search tool, and replaced it with...well...meh.

So, JLSS, whoever you got to design your new website, could you ask them to put back the useful parts of it, while leaving the shiny new look? Kthxbai.

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