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My scenario goes like this:

  • User comes online to find a lawyer to assign for a certain project
  • System displays all lawyers with their contacts
  • User researches as he wishes, and contacts lawyers offline to arrange a deal
  • User does that offline, and it could take a while for them to reach an agreement
  • now somehow, the user or the lawyer must let the system know they had struck a deal, so that lawyer can continue to use the system to prepare legal papers and submit and other things...

so the factors that are affecting the design are:

  • Time lag between user selecting a lawyer offline and assignment online
  • Incentive for both exists but its higher for lawyers

Im facing a bit of rough times, how do design the experience? do I ask the user to initiate connection and thus asking him to go back online and search for lawyer again? Do I let lawyer initiate the connection? or what do i do? how do I save the trail so that it doesnt fade out in time?

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Why does the user go offline to talk to the lawyer? I realize retainers should be signed in person but that doesn't kill email. –  dnbrv Jan 7 '12 at 13:57
    
@dnbrv In this context "offline" means "not using the product". –  Vitaly Mijiritsky Jan 9 '12 at 4:23
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4 Answers 4

up vote 1 down vote accepted

If I had understood properly ,

You can Give the user a small secret code for each project, So that the User goes and makes a deal with the lawyer offline, While having that secret code in their hands.

All the lawyers are well informed before to submit the secret code to the system which they collect it from the user after making a deal !!

The system can find deal and user-lawyer deal from that secret code. .!!

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i think u got me right mostly, and i think i can enhance this method by making the secret code belong to lawyers, when the deal is struck, lawyers can send an email (thru the system) with the link that directs clients to a page that populates lawyer information, and then client punches a "confirm" button, this way, lawyer initiates dialog, and client doesnt have to find lawyer again :) –  Ayyash Jan 10 '12 at 16:58
    
Sounds good .. but do atleast test with 2 users .. one normal public and one lawyer .. that will give you a good understanding if this works well !! TY !! –  Pratheep ch Jan 10 '12 at 20:20
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I am thinking gamification. It is sooo trendy now.

But the real fact is you could read something like Gamification by design, chapter 2: Player Motivation, and will probably find more than one pattern that could fit your need.

It basically boils down to define the player types (end-user and lawyer), identify their motivations and developing mechanics that strike those motivations and "make" them engage. For instance, the lawyer will be more difficult to motivate (register in the site) but easier to engage once she is in the system; whilst the user will be easier to motivate but once he found what needed, more difficult to engage to continue.

You could use the status and coupons "patterns":

  • Lawyer. Motivation: find clients. Mechanic: leaderboards that will bubble up efficient lawyers. Engagement: make lawyers ask users to value their service once it is finished.

  • User. Motivation: find a cost-effective lawyer. Mechanic: discount coupons. Engagement: Gain discount coupons if user values lawyers and refers new users.

This is just a top-of-the-head example, depending on how your site works you can probably find more fitting game mechanics. You can also ask in GameDev.SE.

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that solves one part of the problem which is incentive, but its not quite error prone because of the time lapse... problem is that if investors come back online they might find other lawyers, its pretty irritating to lawyers to lose a client like that –  Ayyash Jan 10 '12 at 16:56
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You just follow up on this. If you can identify the user within the system, you can ask him how it went with the lawyer he selected last time. If not, you can simply email them a week or two after their finding the lawyer. I've seen similar websites do that.

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If, as you suggest, it makes the lawyers task easier if they do all of their communication through the system, then could they offer discounts for making the connection online ( if there is a cost. No wait, it's lawyers. There is always a cost )? It would them be an incentive to return and complete the link.

There is a danger, it would seem, that a user could search, find lawyers, but never provide enough information for the lawyer to identify them in the system again. So there would have to be some form of incentive for the user to keep the engagement through the system. The Lawyers have enough incentive if the work is easier, I think.

All you need to do is keep for the user on their screen their searches and the lawyers they have found. You should be able to save all lawyer details opened in a cookie, meaning that pretty much wheneverthey return to the system, they can identify the lawyer that they connected with.

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well that is a valid way, to keep history of found lawyers, but i think my biggest concern is the time gap, im pretty sure they will strike a deal off the system, but for the investor to come back online to assign, there is a lot of room for error, and its such a terrible experience for investors... Pratheep ch suggested in a different answer to pass a secret code to the investor, i think thats a starting point for a good solution –  Ayyash Jan 10 '12 at 16:54
    
The core thing is to make sure that there is a benefit to the investor in going back. Which means a) making it easy and b) financial incentive. –  Schroedingers Cat Jan 10 '12 at 16:58
    
Investors are the users and clients im referring to in my question –  Ayyash Jan 10 '12 at 17:00
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