Matt James is a member of the Document Lifecycle Evangelism team where he spends most of his efforts on the lawyer’s work-stream. With 10 years in the legal technology field, Matt has been an advocate to law firms and their lawyer’s need for a harmonized technology ecosystem
Apple’s iOS 12 was recently released in September, and the Apple community is going crazy for the Shortcuts app. Shortcuts is the new version of the precursor Workflow app, that with the help of Siri and "Siri Suggestions" can automate a complex task via your iOS 12 device by voice or the touch of a button.
What's the relevance to this regarding legal tech?
Well, outside of the ways it can save you time or make your personal life easier, it completely aligns with how Litera Microsystems creates products and why your lawyers want to use them. We live in a world where we desire to consume data at the fastest rate possible. We use touch or face ID to open our phones as opposed to keying in a 6-digit code. We subscribe to RSS feeds for instant and relevant news notifications over searching news stories. We buy NFL RedZone, so we can watch every scoring play of every game, without having to watch the less-exciting plays. And how do we consume that data in the quickest manner? We eliminate the unnecessary and additional steps.
Nothing earth shattering here, but it's all about minimizing clicks, touches, or hops.
The concept of workflow solutions is nothing new to legal or any industry for that matter, but these solutions traditionally have required you to engage your task through a main entry point. Using that platform, some tasks can be automated by anticipating the next step or product in the process. The Shortcuts App handles this slightly differently, as it is simply leveraging the technology that is native to your device and through a standard condition and variable setup, accomplishing a task with as little interaction as required.
When we think of the business impact to being more efficient, we commonly tie that to the concept of getting more work done in a shorter period. And while that’s very relevant to the supply and demand model, there's also a logistical efficiency component that needs to exist. Logistical efficiency is all about getting from point A to point B in a manner that makes the task of the end-user that much easier. Avoiding disruption to the user's workflow exponentially grows the likelihood of technology use, and more importantly the desire to use. If you have a pool of individuals willing and excited to use technology because it complements and anticipates their workflow, you've made it easy for them to do their job well, which factors into the larger picture of happy clients. Efficiency does not exist without ease of use.
The question that remains to be answered is, "How do we get lawyers over that hump, so they desire technology?” Well, it starts by eliminating pain points and streamlining tasks, but it must be accompanied with a standard user experience. That user experience starts with the device we are all tied to, our phones. The two predominant operating systems have found success in adoption at a time of continually updating apps and emerging technologies.
The secret is simple: don't get too cute or fancy in UI design, don't shift from the norm of UX, and allow a transferable skillset to exist across the technology you introduce. We all have a muscle memory to an expectation of how an application should work, where buttons should be, how they should look, and shaking that up will only place roadblocks in the way to simplifying a task via technology complementing workflow.