Project Launch: Minnesota Judicial Branch Website

I’m happy to see the new Minnesota Judicial Branch site launched this month (old one’s available for a while here if you want to compare and contrast). Looks like it’s a somewhat ‘soft’ launch – as they migrate content from the old to the new.

Last year, I helped the Court Information Office with the redesign – specifically in the information architecture. Their goal was common – consolidate a number of separate sites – in this case, 10 district court sites and the state court itself – into a single, easy to understand and maintain, information system. All while still being clear about which level of the site you’re at (state or district).

Like all information consolidations projects I’ve worked on, the first step is asking: “What types of information is everyone publishing today?”. In fact, the answer resolved many of the information architecture issues. Asking the sites’ visitors what they were looking for answered some more.

There’s two new bits I’m most pleased to see made it through to the launch:

  1. The find-a-district by ZIP code (also by map or County). Chances are you know your ZIP code more readily than your county or judicial district. Made it easy to use that as a key.
  2. The ‘How Do I….?’ – global menu item for the most common questions asked by Minnesota citizens (Adopt a child, Change a name, etc). When we asked visitors why they were at the site, the vast majority of their answers started with ‘How do I….’. Only natural to have a top-level section filled with those common questions.

Congratulations to the Court Information Office on the launch. I’m glad to see it out in the world.

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