Legal Clinic Resources is a intranet for Ontario’s legal clinics to share resources, information, and collaborate. Unfortunately, the site followed no clear information architecture, the menu was confusing and the users operated in silos.

LCR’s core problems

The site’s main problems was a lack of organization and user participation.

Lack of organization

Intranets are usually organized functionally, with labeling reflecting functional, task-oriented user goals. Furthermore, content and navigation on the first two to three levels should appeal to a broad target audience. Once users are inside the group or functional area, more detailed options are available.

The site’s original navigation and labeling was very specific at the top level, there were many options, page titles didn’t match menu items and the breadcrumbs were broken. The menu made it difficult for a user to predict what they might find if they click, resulting in a high level of  abandonment before task completion, according to analytics and user interviews.


The main navigation had a menu item called main menu (despite being the main menu), two items with “Learning” in the title, abbreviations, and the same child items grouped under different parent options but labelled with different language.

The site map of content was a thick soup of interconnected but hard-to-find information (mapped below).

User participation

With a complete breakdown in the information architecture, users became disconnected to their shared resource. Our analysis of the analytics and user interviews revealed visitors were not using the site as a shared resource. User operated in silos, using the site to pass on content by emailing page links. Users could not find information using the menu or search. Many reported that they had given up on the site a long time ago.

Our process

To understand all the dimensions of LCR’s issues and opportunities, we:

  • Interviewed LCR’s users and site managers
  • Analyzed their content and analytics,
  • Conducted a competitive analysis to see how intranets and shared resources organize information and encourage user participation.
  • Ran usability testing of the old site with LCR’s users to identify specific navigation and information architecture issues.

We did not re-develop the site; we just provided recommendations. The client wanted to continue using their X-wiki as their content management.

Our solution

Communicated through a communications brief, a final report, wireframes and business and technical requirements, we recommended LCR do a number of things to bring their product up to the minimal viable product users expect out of the box on the web and introduce user-engagement features.

Minimal viable product

To turn the site into a minimal viable product, we recommended LCR:

  • follow a structured architecture with page templates,
  • re-organizing their content,
  • update their site to the latest responsive X-wiki version,
  • improve site contrast,
  • use call-to-action buttons of unique colour,
  • restructure menus,
  • introduce icons to provide visual cues,
  • remove unnecessary features, and more.

User-engagement features

To entice the users back to LCR, we conducted a persuasive psychology analysis of a number of sites built around user participation and engagement

To increase user engagement, we recommended LCR adopt:

  • a personalized dashboard homepage focused on highlighting a user’s expertise, their connection to other experts, groups and documents.
  • A system to send simple positive feedback (called Kudos) with a leaderboard listing the top Kudos getters.
  • A feed of your recent activity and your groups.
  • A list of ways to engage that is reduced when tasks are completed.
  • Red numbered global notifications, and
  • prompts to help build the community.


Legal Clinic Resources was happy with our recommendations and was last heard working with a developer to re-organize their content, update their look, and introduce our suer engagement suggestions.