About this Redesign
Since its creation in 1997, the amount of information on the Court’s website has grown at least tenfold. The growth reflects the sharp increase in court information, but also an explosion of public interest in the work of the courts. The public, the press, the bar, and court employees expect the Court to maintain a modern and useful website. Over the past two years, the Court’s Internet Committee has worked on a complete redesign of the Court’s website. The Internet Committee sought to unify the look and feel of the website, make information easier to find, and add new content that more fully reflects the work of the West Virginia judicial branch.
Unified Look and Feel
The new website features a unified look and feel for all pages. This consistency improves the user experience and also makes the website much easier to maintain and update.
After a careful review of the usage of the Court's old website, reviewing the websites in other jurisdictions, and reviewing best practices in Web design, the Internet Committee identified five major categories that are used as column headers on the home page and are repeated on the left-hand side of each internal page. The categories expand to show all of the different pages that fall within each category. Where several sub-categories of information relate to a single page, each of those categories appear in tabs along the top of the page. An example of the tabbed navigation is the Access to Justice page.
Improved Access to High-Use Information
The Internet Committee identified several areas of the site that generated traffic but needed improvements to help the user find information. A new site search function was added that is based upon a modern interface. Two other examples are the new county pages and the new integrated decisions list.
New County Pages: The old website has information about court resources in each county, but that information is spread across numerous pages and is presented in numerous different formats. As a result, some of the information is outdated and other information is missing. As part of the redesign, the Internet Committee created single pages for each county with information about each level of court. The county pages include useful features such as circuit maps, addresses for filings, phone and fax numbers.
Integrated Decisions List: Year after year, the most frequently used area of the Court's website is the opinions page. Since the Revised Rules were adopted, the Court has more than tripled the number of decisions on the merits. The primary reason for this is the addition of Memorandum Decisions. On the Court's old website, the opinions are on one page and the Memorandum Decisions are on a separate page, making it difficult to locate the decision you need. The long lists of case titles also did not convey much information to the reader about important things like case type and decision type. To address this problem, the new website uses an integrated decision list. All decisions of the Court are listed on one page for each term.
To aid in finding and sorting, case type codes have been added that are based upon the uniform reporting guidelines set forth by the National Center for State Courts. In addition, decision codes have been added. The integrated decision list can be re-sorted on the fly by clicking the "Date Filed," "Case Name," "Case Type," or "Decision Type" columns.
The work of the modern judiciary is complex and far-reaching, and the new website reflects that. From the new slideshows on the home page to the detailed pages for specialty courts and administrative activities, this website is a more accurate image of the work of the West Virginia court system.