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Intelligent Information Architecture for a Global Legal Entity

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About the Client

Hill Dickinson are an award-winning international commercial law firm, with offices in 8 cities, across the UK, mainland Europe and Asia. They offer a vast range of legal services and guidance, across all sectors, helping businesses, large organisations and even individuals facing personal legal matters.

Business Challenge

Hill Dickinson came to CTI looking to develop a new digital platform which would place their firm as “thought-leaders” and raise online awareness of their brand. Ultimately, they wanted a site which acted as a tool for evolving business development and client retention.

Their previous site was somewhat dated and lacked a responsive design, so we were charged with bringing them firmly up to date. Hill Dickinson had already identified Drupal as their preferred platform and had chosen to undergo a new development (rather than a “lift and shift” of the existing front-end).

They aimed to improve user experience, by implementing a responsive design, to enable users on all devices to find the information they need quicker. Hoping to advance the media content, to include more videos and infographics, Hill Dickinson knew that it was important for their online presence to be clearly branded, engaging and, above all, visible to the target audience.

Working with another agency who were responsible for the visual design, and in collaboration with the Hill Dickinson team, we developed, built and continue to support the Hill Dickinson Website.

Simplified Navigation

Bolstered by Hill Dickinson's UX research, we implemented a simplified navigation, directing users to filter by People, Sectors, or Services. This created a clear user journey through a potentially overwhelming volume of information.

Each ‘Sector’ and ‘Service’ benefits from its own landing page, from where services can be yet further filtered and arranged. Subsections provide drop-down modules, to minimise the need for scrolling and to make a vast quantity of information readily available, without the need for extraneous reading.

'Our People' Search

In order to direct potential clients to the appropriate contacts, amidst Hill Dickinson’s large staff and vast array of expertise, we created a search function, capable of refining by name, expertise, office location and position. This function allows users to reach the most relevant and productive person for their needs, in the least time possible.

Once a user reaches the specific personal page, they are able to directly download all of the necessary details into their device’s contact library. It takes just two or three clicks to place a customer in contact with the necessary legal expert.

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Flexible, component-based CMS

For ease of upload at the client back-end, we created a website that could be controlled through a flexible and intuitive content management system (CMS). Developing changeable components, we provided Hill Dickinson with the puzzle pieces required to manipulate a range of content types. To support their modernised, media-rich website design, this CMS allows editors to input text alongside images, infographics and embedded videos, with ease.

Allowing them to update and upload fresh content regularly, this CMS also hosts the extensive Hill Dickinson ‘Insights’ library. Ostensibly an inbuilt blog, content managers are able to define their uploads in line with six defined filtering types: article, digital newsletter, eBook, event, expert commentary or press release. Once again, these clearly defined options allow users to find information more efficiently, whilst also aiding content managers to control their uploads more clearly.

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Interlinking Content

In order to condense and present a vast amount of content in a relatively simple way, we ensured that all content was tightly-woven and interlinked. Preventing the site from becoming overly complex, it was important to confirm that all information could be readily accessed by the target user.

By inputting multiple links between each item and page, information can now be reached from a number of different routes and user journeys, making sure that the filtering system doesn’t block access at any stage.

Events Showcase

As a secondary update, we created an events section viewable in either a list view or calendar format, to clearly present an array of upcoming opportunities. Whilst the list view presents all key descriptors and tags as event cards, the calendar view offers pop-outs detailing this additional information, in order to keep the initial appearance as clean as possible.

The events overview then leads through to individual events pages, each populated with informative content, Google Maps integration and links to booking or contact.

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SEO Informed Approach

While building a new website, especially for a well-established brand, it was vital that search engine optimisation was considered from the outset. Our SEO experts were involved in the development of the Hill Dickinson website from the initial discovery and research process. This ensured that the new website would be easily visible, in all its glory.

SEO input included:

  • Backlinks analysis: cleansing the backlinks allowed the site to appear where it is most relevant, increasing in value and authority.
  • Canonicalisation: changing the homepage canonicalisation to the absolute URL increased organic visibility by reducing complexity in the route to the site.
  • Redirects: redirecting from HTTP to HTTPS, and from any 404 pages ensured the secure version of the site should be the only one accessible.
  • Data highlighting: highlighting key figures enabled users to reach their desired information in the most convenient way possible.

Quality Assurance (QA) Testing

All of our projects undergo rigorous testing, throughout the software development process. In order to deliver the utmost quality for clients and their respective users, our in-house QA team ensure that all end products perform accurately and reliably under normal and abnormal conditions. Testing is followed by continual monitoring of software performance, to prevent reoccurrence of any issues and to ensure efficient ongoing operation.

As such, we were able to confidently deliver a well-designed, scalable and technically stable result.


Since going live in December 2016, the new Hill Dickinson website offers a visually engaging and clear presentation of all pertinent information. Working collaboratively between CTI, Hill Dickinson and an external design agency, this new site was built and maintained with the ease of user experience at the forefront of all considerations.

CTI continue to support and develop the Hill Dickinson site, from both a web development and an SEO perspective. Our ongoing development retainer, and work producing several additional microsites, validate the positive professional relationship we have nurtured with the client.

Going forward, we are helping the firm to further improve their conversion rates, with updates such as a more visible contact form. We also provide 24/7 reactive support, to ensure that this global site doesn’t experience downtime in any timezone.

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See the results for yourself

Hill Dickinson Website