AmLaw Global 50 Aggregate Scores
|1||84.0||Site functions perfectly on all the latest browsers|
|2||100.0||No error pages are found on spot check|
|3||98.0||No broken links or images are evident with spot check|
|4||48.0||Pages print and email easily|
|5||48.0||Site offers dynamic print to PDF option on most pages|
|6||100.0||Content has been checked for spelling|
|7||98.0||All appropriate domains are active, including https|
|8||0.00||Site meets W3C WCAG 2.0 and 2.1 accessibility standards - Level A|
Top Trends + Insights
The 2020 Global 50 website scores for FBP10 - Site Hygiene + Usability went down in this Study because of two primary attributes:
- Attribute #1, "Poor performance on certain browsers" and attribute #8, "Meeting the accessibility requirements."
- These two attributes brought down the 2020 aggregate score of the Global 50 firms to 72.0 (barely "good"), down from 85.2 ("excellent") in 2016.
This is the second FBP Study where we tested website compliance for those with disabilities. No law firm scored 100.0 on FBP10 – because all firms failed the W3C WCAG 2.0 & 2.1 accessibility requirements. We used Siteimprove’s Accessibility Checker. If you don’t comply with all the criteria, your site has “failed.”
This FBP is called "Site Hygiene + Usability" because these are the irritating little things that get in the way of a visitor having a perfect experience with your website. They are akin to having the dreaded kale or quinoa in your teeth or Fluffy’s dog hair on your dark suit.
This should be the easiest Foundational Best Practice for a firm to score 100.0
16 firms ranked “excellent” with the top score of 87.5. They received 100.0 on all attributes except accessibility.
26 firms scored zero on attribute #4, “Pages print and email easily,” up from the seven firms who received a zero score in 2016. It appears this foundational functionality has completely gotten lost in the redesigns of many of the Global 50 websites. Given the ubiquitous desire to increase revenues and improve relationships, it is stunning that firms are making it impossible to easily email pages to colleagues and friends. They are also forcing visitors to use the browser to print, which nearly always results in imperfect output and erosion of brand integrity.
Email functionality is often hidden under share options, if it’s offered at all. Frequently, the only option is to share via social media, but not to email to another person.
All firms scored 100.0 on two attributes: #2, "No error pages found on spot check" and #6, "Content has been checked for spelling." Good! In addition to firms not making it easy to print and email pages, they are also scoring very low on attribute #5: "Offering the presentation-ready print to PDF option on most pages."
- 26 firms scored zero on offering the print-to-PDF functionality, which is worse than the 19 who received a score of zero in 2016. We first scored this functionality in the 2005 analysis of the then AmLaw 100 firms. We have not come very far, it seems.
- The remaining 24 firms scored 100.0 on offering print to PDFs.
The essential page tools (print, email, share) are often hard to find — icons are too small, haphazardly appear on the page or don’t appear at all.
The Bureau of Internet Accessibility has improved in the last couple of years and is now a rich resource for law firm leaders and website planners who want to expand their knowledge and understanding.
- According to BOIA, over a billion people worldwide have a disability, and according to the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 4 U.S. adults has a disability.
- The overwhelming number of all websites are inaccessible – this presents an opportunity for these powerful law firms to step out and set the right example.
- In January 2019, Beyoncé’s company, Parkwood Entertainment, became the defendant in a class-action lawsuit alleging that it violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Lawsuits in the first half of 2019 were up 12% over the same period the prior year – all because of inaccessibility to digital assets, a/k/a websites. The Domino’s June 2019 lawsuit was equally high profile (although some may argue that Queen Bey will always have a loftier presence than anything, pizza included).
- Bottom line: Err on the side of inclusiveness and comply with at least the standards that we used in our analysis – W3C WCAG 2.0 & 2.1 – Level A. The WCAG 2.1 is a series of measurable success guidelines for developers and designers, including: Perceivable: Available through sight, hearing or touch. Operable: User interface and navigation must be operable and compatible with keyboard or mouse. Understandable: User-friendly, easy to comprehend. Robust: As technologies and user agents evolve, the content needs to remain accessible.
If you want a full content audit of your site, contact email@example.com.
We couldn’t have been more surprised that so many of the Global 50 websites weren’t rendering well in all browsers. From Chrome to IE to Edge to Firefox – all of them had problems. Eight firms scored zero on this attribute because the sites had issues on one or more browsers. 42 firms scored 100.0. The total score for this attribute went from 99 in 2016 to 84.0 in 2020.
All but one firm used the recommended https instead of http. That really stands out today – not in a good way.
|Do feature page tools on most pages of your website: email this page, print to PDF, share. Make it easy for your visitors to spread the good word about you to social media sites and to their friends/colleagues.|
|Do create beautiful presentation-ready print to PDF pages. Don’t underestimate the impact of an artistically designed print page.|
|Do ensure that content has been checked for correct spelling and grammar in all languages. We recommend at least quarterly spelling/grammar check-ups, if not monthly.|
|Do make a commitment to your visitors with disabilities. Ensure that they feel comfortable and at home with you because of the easy experience they have with your website.|
|Do recognize that your visitors’ computer skills might not be as finely tuned as yours. View your site with fresh eyes each time you explore it. What are your visitors seeing that you are now blind to? Familiarity breeds both contempt and mistakes.|
|Don't use a tedious form with multiple required fields for email share functionality – instead, it should open directly in a visitor’s email immediately after the pop-up compliance box (which the visitor must accept to continue).|
|Generally, don’t make it hard or frustrating to use your site. Design an intuitive and engaging experience and don’t let irritating little hygiene things get in the way of a visitor having a perfect experience with you. Remember, it’s like having kale in your teeth – now, that’s a visual that your visitors can’t unsee.|
|Don’t let your website fall victim to visitors’ negativity biases. According to Nielsen Norman Group, the global gurus of website usability, this is what negativity bias means on the web and to your firm: “How does negativity bias manifest on the web? A single usability flaw on your site will weigh more than the many positive features that you’ve struggled to implement. To leave a lasting positive impression, user interfaces must not only be good, they must be great, and you must root out every single design flaw with a vengeance.” The emphasis add is ours.|
|And NNG continues: “You might assume that as websites get better, people will regard them more favorably. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Our research shows that websites have improved over the years, yet users’ satisfaction ratings have remained the same — for two reasons: (1) UX failures count more than UX successes; (2) people judge a site by comparing it with other sites that they’ve encountered.” Don't forget this.|
FBP10 Total Scores
Top Ten Performers
16 firms tied as top performers for FBP10, so we are including all of them here.