Redeveloping Multiple Sites and Applications into a Cohesive Customer Portal

The State Bar of Texas represents over 75,000 attorneys in Texas, along with tens of thousands of law students, law clerks, and law practice staff. The state's legal profession depends on the State Bar's many print and digital publications, as well as its online practice resources, to function. Vertex helped the Texas State Bar update, consolidate, and streamline its services to the profession with a new e-commerce system, a new integrated user portal, an administration application that combined and replaced existing applications, and an expanded updated customer database.

The Problem

The State Bar of Texas is dedicated to providing the information and management tools its members need to succeed. Their publications, both print and digital, coupled with their online Law Practice Management resources, are invaluable to the professional success of Texas lawyers. However, over the years these resources had been created and managed separately and in phases so that accessing them meant traversing multiple websites, applications, and online stores. Supporting their members, and marketing these products and services to them, was compounded by the number of different sites used to both access and promote them.

On the business operations side, managing all of these separate resources through separate applications was inefficient, time-consuming, and costly. In addition, the various services, stores, and tools employed separate brands, and those brands had not had a recent design refresh. Their Law Practice Resources division did not have its own brand, and the print books, online books, and law practice management program all had separate brands, with different logos and color schemes, that State Bar staff felt should be combined into a single unified brand.

The digital staff at the State Bar wanted to create a single cohesive user experience for their members, to provide better access to both their free law practice management resources and to make purchasing their publications – and accessing their online publications – easier. At the same time, they wanted to improve sales conversions, payment collections, and subscription retention efforts for their staff. And they wanted the entire system to look fresh and contemporary.

Our Solution

Vertex approached the task of creating the new, unified portal, to be named, by having our UI/UX team look at the existing e-commerce and practice management sites and the functional requirements of the integrated system to design the “single, cohesive user experience” requested by the State Bar. This user experience model would then be used to create the functional requirements, business process workflow, and application architecture for the new system.

Simultaneously, the graphic design team began working with the State Bar marketing team on an identity package and design system for the new brand.

The Texas Bar Practice portal combines multiple e-commerce sites and applications under a single unified site

Unified Account Management

State Bar staff wished to use WordPress as the content management system (“CMS”) for their sites, and WooCommerce for managing e-commerce. However, neither WooCommerce nor any other third-party add-ons to the project supported the kind of complex user management required by the TexasBarPractice project – which included organizational accounts, linked subordinate accounts, various kinds of subscription and group purchases, and several other unusual customer account requirements.

Vertex developers created a unified account management system to enable all of the various kinds of accounts and sales requirements needed for the portal, redesigning and redeveloping the customer database in the process. This account management system formed the nucleus of the applications managing the new portal and provided a single login interface linking sections – print publications store, online publications store, knowledgebase, practice management resources – as well as enabling different functionality and access for end users based on the nature of their membership and their roles within their organizations.

A New Look and Feel

The graphic design and digital marketing teams produced a new, clean, contemporary design unified under a single brand name and new logo. Major sections of the new portal, which had previously been stand-alone, separate sites – were similarly branded and also given new logos that derived from the TexasBarPractice “parent” logo. Two rows of menus allowed users to navigate easily between all the major sections and functional aspects of the portal.

One Stop Shop – for Portal Management

On the portal management side, Vertex created an administrative application to manage users, organizations, orders, licenses, renewals, and products. In addition, we created applications for automatically creating online publications from product definition files, mobile apps for enabling rapid in-person sales at events, and a reporting tool for the e-commerce finance staff.

What We Did
Brand Identity System

Application Architecture and Design Documents

Customer Experience Strategy and Design

Graphic Design and Design System

Application Development
Front End Development
Mobile App Development
CMS Integration
Database Administration
Testing and QA
SEO and Performance Optimization
DevOps and Managed Hosting
What We Delivered
Branding Identity Package
New Logos
Graphic Design
Design Documents
Integrated Portal
Sales Database and API

Legacy Data Migration and Integration

e-Commerce Site for Print Publications

e-Commerce Site for Online Publications

Automated Online Publication Conversion Application

Knowledge Base Application

Chat Support and CRM Integration

Administrative Tool Application for Managing Products, Customers, Orders, and More

Sales App for Quickly Processing In-Person Book Sales

Sitewide License Management Application
Reporting Tool for Finance
Integration with Accounting System
DevOps and Managed Hosting
Maintenance Package