In my first blog, I talked about human-centred design, and how it can positively influence the beginning of a legal tech journey, to the point where challenges and opportunities have been fully identified, and requirements developed to address them.
Building on this, businesses can use human-centred design principles to inform the identification, implementation and the ongoing running of the solution as explained below:
- Tailored market analysis: Use the requirements you’ve captured to analyse what solutions are available and whether they address those requirements. Use your insight to ensure that prospective vendors tailor their approach. E.g. rather than “off the shelf” product demos, ask for these to be tailored to your business.
- Prototype: At an early stage, allow users access to a prototype. There are different approaches, such as allowing access to a basic demo version of a product, or mocking up a system’s user interface. Take user feedback on the prototype and refine the design and repeat, until you have a design that meets individual needs.
- Iterate: When designing and building the system, use “iteration”, the process of delivering a product in smaller, incremental steps, taking user feedback each time.
- Stay agile: As you move forward, keep iterating by adopting an “agile” approach to delivery. Break delivery into smaller, more manageable cycles, prioritising the most important features. Once delivered, take feedback, reprioritise if required, and move on to the next cycle.
- Seek feedback: The critical point is to seek user feedback regularly throughout the process, and course-correct as you go, rather than waiting until the end of the project.
- Don’t stop improving: No business stands still, and nor should the technology supporting it. Once implemented, use analytics to review how the system is being used, and keep seeking feedback. Use that data and feedback to ensure the system evolves to address current and future needs.
Sounds great in theory. Does it work in practice?
Most technology projects will have to contend with various real-world challenges, including changes in strategy, personnel, and budget. A human-centered approach can help prepare for these challenges:
- By identifying what’s really important, and prioritising, you can stay focused even when things are changing around you.
- By involving people in the design and evolution of the product you will reinforce their buy-in and keep them engaged through what could be a lengthy and involved project, helping you better manage any change.
- By iterating, and delivering in manageable chunks, you will be able to prove benefit quickly, and react quickly to a changing landscape.
Ok, but who cares about humans – aren’t robots about to control the world?
There’s no question that technology is moving at an incredibly fast pace. The growth in the legal tech market over recent years is a case in point. However, lawyers aren’t about to disappear any time soon, nor is the need to interact with them (sorry everyone!).
What we will find is that we use technology more often, in more ways (some of which haven’t been conceived yet), and in some cases probably without even knowing. Powerful natural language processing models like GPT-3 are now making technology exponentially more intuitive, more “human”. Nonetheless technology and business will remain complex, and humans are more complex than either. Human-centered design helps us navigate this complex intersection, to create intuitive, successful systems and ultimately better, happier humans.
Just to check, though, I asked the same question to GPT-3, and here’s how it replied:
Robots are not about to take over the world. Robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are advancing rapidly, but they still lack the emotional intelligence and creativity of humans. As AI continues to evolve, it will open up new possibilities for people and machines to work together in ways that benefit both.
Not bad, for a robot!
We want to make sure that you get the best from your tech: high adoption rates, peak performance, happy and productive users, reliable and actionable insight, data and reporting, consistent and suitable contracts and the tools to manage them, and ultimately a strong return on your investment, and we have an expert team of consultants to help you do that.
Stephen is the Practice Director – Digital Contract Consulting at SYKE.
Stephen heads up the Digital Contracting team in SYKE’s consulting practice. He has been involved in commercial contracting for over 20 years, much of that time spent in-house, where he also held senior management roles in Technology and Procurement during major transformation programmes. Before going in-house he spent 9 years in private legal practice, specialising in technology, outsourcing and commercial contracts.