LexisNexis has given Tech4Law a very early sneak preview of the exciting new version of My LexisNexis which is based on the Lexis Advance version currently being rolled out internationally.
I attended the first beta user experience training in Johannesburg, where the selected power users had hands on training in a user experience event and then offered their feedback to the developers. Solid procedures from the software developers.
My initial thought was that it was clean, logical and almost intuitive of the user’s requirements. When you open the system in your browser you are greeted by a simple uncluttered search Toolbar at the top and to the right a section tab called “My Workspace”. This clinical start to the application gives you the impression that this is uncluttered and straight to the point with the search as it core focus and not one of browsing. It does have the “Google” type look which I think will give new users a warm and fuzzy feeling.
The new Lexis Advance that is being rolled out globally by the LexisNexis group not only makes changes to the front end but includes changes to internal systems, databases and client management systems. It has been developed over the last 5 years and has cost many millions of dollars. What I noticed is that the local development team at LexisNexis South Africa did a great job of retaining some of the legacy features that existing My LexisNexis users will be familiar with; this will assist users in adapting to the new platform. These features are obviously unique to South Africa due to the local requirements. To put current users at ease, the table of contents and filter system work very much like the existing My LexisNexis. Over time the local My LexisNexis will become more and more like the international system, as Larsen Lockwood-Hall, the Business Development Executive at LexisNexis noted “It makes logical sense to leverage on the vast research and development that has been done internationally. There has been extensive global collaboration on this project and we are increasingly realising that there is a lot of commonality amongst our customers in terms of their user experience expectations”
They have adopted the “hover for help” on all the tools or icons in the browser, so if ever you are unsure what the icon does, you just leave your mouse hovering on the icon and the tooltip will give you an explanation as to the function of that specific tool. There is a “Full View” tool which drops the search header and gives you the maximum real estate space to view on your screen.
When you search, the results are displayed in tabs within the browser application, which makes for easy navigation between your filters and initial search. The full history allows you to bounce back to previous searches with ease.
A new feature is the ability to save documents to your computer, in either PDF or HTML format, something which has been a regular request on the wish list. The documents are then emailed to you at your registered email address. This allows you to control the size of the download and does not affect the performance of the system (i.e. it means you don’t have to stop working if the file is very large).
The new “Single View” replaces the existing “Custom View” which allows you to compile and download if you so wish, all the documents you compiled in the system.
There is a Google icon in the application which allows you to perform the same search you did on the LexisNexis database through the Google search engine.
The “My Workspace” will allow you to create your own event sessions where you can create client names in folders, so that your searches pertaining to that client/event can all be stored in your own personal area.
Something to note and prepare for with the new version is that the recommended screen resolution for the application is 1280 x 800 – get this checked before you get the new version.
The intention of the LexisNexis developers is to take the recommendations and issues raised at the feedback sessions into account for the launch of the new interface and the subsequent updates of the software.
Some of the comments from the power users at the session were:
Olwyn: “This is very nice, it seems quite logical.”
Ria: “I like it, I cannot wait to get to use it more.”
Lydia: “Very clean and intuitive. I would like to have multiple viewing rights for all of the advocates I do research for.”
Ruth: “Nice, it is good that they have kept the filter and TOC like the previous version, it gives you a comfort knowing it is still there.”
Afzal: “It is cleaner, seems to flow better.”
In short it looks like the New My LexisNexis is going to be a great improvement as systems go, and knowing that this system has the international exposure, it should allow the system to grow and evolve at a rapid rate.