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Casemaker4: New and Improved, Yet Reassuringly Familiar By Norman Woolworth Author’s Note: At the time this article was written, Casemaker4 was still in beta testing. As a result, it is possible features described or shown may have been modified slightly in the final version of the new platform’s release. In January, State Bar Association of North Dakota (SBAND) members were introduced to Casemaker4, the next generation legal research platform from Casemaker. an extensive beta testing process, the team managed to achieve the desired balance, producing a new and improved platform that remains, nonetheless, reassuringly familiar. Casemaker4 features a clean and uncluttered layout, with all of the features SBAND members previously enjoyed, along with faster search speeds, better search filter tools, and new functionality such as type ahead searching. It is both W3C and ADA compliant and includes a much more responsive design for enhanced display on smaller devices. Not every change to the new platform is visible to users. As McCade explained, Casemaker invested in significant “back end” enhancements. In creating Casemaker4, to which SBAND members have free access, the Casemaker development team was presented with two overarching imperatives: “We have upgraded our load balancing and database clustering technologies,” McCade said. “And then, along with hardware improvements, we’ve invested in our server operating system, and database and search engine software. The result is faster response time and greater platform stability.” • On the one hand, improve search speed, modernize the interface to enable more intuitive site navigation, and upgrade design responsiveness to better accommodate mobile devices; • On the other hand, retain features and design elements that loyal Casemaker users value and trust, and minimize changes with the potential to disorient. In designing the new platform’s user interface, much thought was put into making the user experience not only more intuitive, but also more efficient. To that end, notable enhancements include: Put another way: Make it new. Make it better. But avoid change for change’s sake. “The history of platform re-designs across various industries is littered with examples of solutions in search of problems,” said Dan McCade, Casemaker’s chief information officer. “We were very conscious throughout the development process of only adding features that would matter to our users, and of not throwing out the baby with the bath water, so to speak.” Guided by several years of user feedback and incorporating refinements suggested through • Moving the main navigation to the header area so there is no longer a need to return to the home page. • Enabling a search of anything from anywhere by including the jurisdiction selection menu on every page. In concert, the system automatically updates the search jurisdiction as the site is navigated, so that searching on just the content you are browsing remains the default. • Adding time-saving options to the Search Input box, including “Recent Searches,” “Search Tips,” “Advanced Search,” and predictive “Type Ahead” functionality (see next page). • Adding Casemaker Digest (daily summaries of leading cases), Casemaker Libra (eBooks), CiteCheck, and CLE Events to the main navigation for easier access, as well as the Norman Woolworth joined Casemaker as director of marketing in the Spring of 2018. He is a seasoned veteran of the online legal research industry, having served in a variety of marketing leadership and general management roles during a nearly 20-year career at LexisNexis, most recently as the head of the company’s Federal Government market segment. 16 THE GAVEL