This TIG cycle, we’ve been hard at work with our partners in New York State adding some optional features to the LawHelp platform. Just before Thanksgiving, the first set of new custom options went live, giving site administrators the option to add a number of custom fields to the search forms on their LawHelp sites. Here’s what you need to know to understand what new functionality these new options bring and how you can take advantage of them:
Traditional Search in LawHelp
LawHelp sites have two different search features visitors can take advantage of.
Clicking “Go” without entering a search query takes visitors to an “Advanced Search” view, where they can narrow the results they will see by searching by location and topic/subtopic, in addition to their keyword search:
II: Legal Help Search. On sites where site administrators have asked for a search feature in lieu of a legal directory (this customization option is not related to the new work done this fall), visitors that click the “Find Legal Help” button in the center of the site header.
Now, site administrators can request that additional form fields be added to these search forms, allowing visitors to construct even more specific queries. Administrators can request that Pro Bono Net modify their site’s settings to include one or more of the following new fields:
- Tag Type/Tag
- Channel/Category (for Legal Help Search)
- Service Type (for Legal Help Search)
- Spoken Languages (for Legal Help Search) [i.e., the languages spoken at a particular organization]
When considering whether to enable these new fields on your site, keep in mind that they will work best if you already have resources and organizations that are marked up with tags and categories that will help your visitors search more easily. (The structure of the “Find a Lawyer” channel in the example above is an excellent illustration of how channel and category information can be used to give visitors useful new search options.)
If you have any questions about these new search options, or if you would like to request that we enable them for your site, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.