Crystal-clear website gains recognition for probate genealogists Anglia Research

The legal services industry has something of a reputation for confusing and bemusing clients with long, tortuous sentences and jargon. However, one specialist genealogical and people-tracing firm, which works closely with the legal sector, is bucking the trend.

The Plain English Campaign has recognised probate genealogists Anglia Research under its Internet Crystal Mark scheme, for the clarity and ease of use of their website.

The legal services industry has a difficult task in communicating clearly with clients. While it is imperative that the correct terminology is used, so that any advice or documentation is watertight, it is equally important that clients are not confused by jargon and that they understand what they are reading.

It is also vital, as the web and social media come to dominate the way we communicate, that lawyers appreciate the importance of having a website that is easy to use and to navigate. A number of firms, especially those with their own IT departments, have grasped this, but others may struggle. After all, they are experts in the law, not in IT.

That is why Anglia Research decided to work with the Plain English Campaign to make sure that its website was as clear as possible. The company specialises in probate genealogy and tracking down missing people, documents and assets for solicitors.

Anglia Research’s Commercial Director, solicitor Carolyn Lord, explained:

“Our business relies on communication. It is vital that we provide the people who use our services with all the information they need, in a form that’s readily accessible and easy to understand.

“We are very proud to have gained the Internet Crystal Mark. It represents our commitment to making ourselves clear and, more than that, our commitment to acting with honesty and integrity. Long-windedness and beating around the bush can often hide incompetence or a desire to mislead.”

Gary Robertson of Aardweb Ltd, who developed the website, said:

“Anglia Research showed a real desire to make sure that all aspects of the site were as clear as possible for all visitors. Many companies that commission websites do not realise how important this is to win and retain clients. In the past, people were impressed by showy graphics but nowadays they don’t have the time or patience to put up with websites that are not easy to use.”

Factors that the Plain English Campaign took into account included how easy the site is to read, how accessible it is for people with disabilities, how easy it is for visitors to find their way around, and how consistent the design and layout are.

To date, only 54 organisations are entitled to display the Internet Crystal Mark. Most of these are local councils and other public bodies. But commercial organisations are starting to see the value of making their websites clear and easy to use. In the private sector Swinton Insurance and the Phoenix Group are aware of the benefits of making their internet message clear. Among the huge number of legal services providers in the UK only one company, Browne Jacobson, is listed.

Anglia Research was set up in 1979 by businessman Peter Turvey. Peter is a former chairman of the Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (AGRA).

Anglia Research have tracked down thousands of missing heirs in the UK and around the world, as well as tracing lost documents and assets for clients.

Staff also provide research support for a wide variety of projects, including regularly helping out with the BBC’s flagship genealogy programme Who Do You Think You Are?

Today's Wills and Probate