We love all of our members, but just like anyone else, we’ve got a special soft spot for our old-timers. Since 2009, Fox Rothschild‘s 30+ blogs have been pillars of the LexBlog Community. This large American firm specializes in everything from IP to cannabis to health law and so much more.
Fox has been with us through every blog software change that LexBlog has undertaken—from Movable Type 3 to Movable Type 4 to WordPress to Applefritter. In fact, they were one of the first big firms to switch their blogs to Applefritter, a clean and responsive layout.
Recently, the LexBlog Design team wrapped up a massive redesign of all of Fox’s blogs.
George Nelson, Fox Rothschild’s marketing technology director, spoke about why the firm decided to pursue the blog redesigns. He explained the firm’s desire to move to a more contemporary design:
The new page layout helped us think about what a new iteration of Fox might look like. We’d had the old layout for about five years, and we wanted to give our subscribers a fresher, more modern design.
So…what exactly does that new design entail?
One of the most exciting new features of the redesign is a single-column design. According to Brian Biddle, LexBlog’s lead designer and art director, this is a modern take on blogging that drives reader attention to the blog post alone on a page.
The single column layout places other items on the page in less notable locations in order to hone in on content, the author of it and how to subscribe. It’s becoming more and more common with the rise of mobile viewership and right-side sidebars. Brian calls it “a simple experience” that is keeping up with medium trends.
However, for a select few “power blogs” (including California Employment Blog, Plane-ly Spoken, North Carolina Appellate Blog, Immigration View, and Fair Housing Defense), Fox decided to pursue a multi-column magazine solution. This gives the publications a similar look and feel to a classic blog, but the magazine layout allows for the pages to be curated on the home page more specifically and showcase vast amounts of content they were putting out.
In addition, the LexBlog team collaborated with Fox to build a uniquely angled templated masthead to help develop and build out different mastheads for the 30+ blogs on our platform and open up possibilities for email headers.
Another appeal of the redesign process was the opportunity for increased accessibility on a digital platform. Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WBAG) are a big concern in blog presentation; according to WebAIM Million’s 2021 Update, the number of detectable accessibility errors is 51.4 on average per home page. The LexBlog team therefore wanted to prioritize the accessibility of content in several ways across the redesigns.
George cited an increased emphasis on color contrast and a more comprehensive navigation setup for screen readers to consume content as key accessibility features in the redesign.
Additionally, Brian discussed the new accessibility feature of input buttons below each blog’s menu. The buttons allow readers to access topics and archives in the blog’s footer.
Trust the process
The LexBlog team members are experts at this. They communicated daily with George over the course of the entire project, which lasted a little longer than two months. The team worked at a steady pace, launching three redesigned blogs per week.
The redesign of each blog required a detail-oriented approach. Ethan Stanislawski, LexBlog’s director of customer support, said that the process of redesigning a blog was similar to building a new blog in its prelive version. Along the way, the team checked in daily with George to assess a host of different factors such as scheduling plans, the issue of blog email subscribers during the redesign and, of course, design elements.
Among the key design elements discussed were the adjustment of custom navigation items to the newer template, the switch of stock image orientation from embedded to featured and the management of footer items displaying information properly.
The team also had to make sure that no content was lost or links were misdirected in the process of essentially remaking the blog. Ethan emphasized the precision and diligence that the project required:
We had to be really diligent with checking in about everything throughout the process. It takes awhile, but it’s worth it.
And George agrees!
We’re really pleased with the outcome of the redesign, and we’re excited to see what comes next.