Why Simple eDiscovery User Interfaces (UIs) Speed Up Reviews
Takeaway: A user interface (UI) is the face of your eDiscovery software. And newer, minimalist interfaces convert your web browser into a high-end eDiscovery dashboard. The best UIs speed up file reviews by giving you insightful case overviews, adding contextual file information, making it easy to build ‘advanced’ searches, and using a trusty ‘production wizard’ to walk you through your productions.
eDiscovery applications now work via web browsers, making it much easier to review files.
This browser revolution means that everyone on your team can contribute to each eDiscovery stage.
In the days of complicated eDiscovery software, team members had to specialize in particular stages of eDiscovery (often also bringing in eDiscovery experts to help). But nowadays, eDiscovery applications are intuitive enough to figure out after a few minutes of practice. So, team members can move between tasks seamlessly without stalling the review.
But this means raising your standards when choosing eDiscovery software for your law firm.
Tech advances have to contribute to a single, core goal: Improving your firm’s workflow through each stage of the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (i.e., the conceptual model describing eDiscovery’s multiple stages.) So, your software should be flexible enough to handle file processing, review, and production in whatever order best suits each custom data set. And you need to be able to repeat steps, cycle back to earlier steps, or skip some entirely – all without losing momentum.
Here’s where your eDiscovery UI (user interface) becomes critical. And the best UIs have the following key features.
Your eDiscovery software’s user interface is the doorway connecting you to elaborate behind-the-scenes technology. So, just having browser-friendly eDiscovery software isn’t enough. Instead, your software’s UI needs to stay minimal, simple, and easy to use while engaging with complex backend code. Typically, this means having the following features.
1. An overview of your case with simple infographics.
A reliable birdseye view of your case can help you quickly overview your upcoming workflow. For instance, how many files do you have? What are their formats (emails, PDFs, images, Word documents, etc.)? How much space do they take up? And how are they connected? An eDiscovery dashboard with descriptive infographics of this data will help solidify your case strategy. For instance:
- Case size data (in terms of gigabytes and number of files) will help you estimate how long a review will take and how much it’ll cost. This is especially true if your eDiscovery provider uses a storage-based pricing plan.
- File format ratios (e.g., PDFs vs. emails vs. scanned documents) can tell you where most of your responsive evidence will come from. For instance, a case with emails making up 50% of its volume will likely need a different strategy than one with 95% PDFs.
- File family links can help track connections between related files (e.g., an email and its attachments), ensuring you don’t overlook vital information. For instance, you don’t want to search emails for a keyword but miss searching their attachments, too. Learn more about file families. So, make sure your software can give you a file-family overview.
- Review-set overviews will help you track which files have been assigned to which team members and how much of their work they’ve completed.
2. Contextual file information for when you’re skimming through documents.
You’ll be severely limited if you only see a list of files without context. So, your UI needs to display a file’s tags and high-value metadata.
- Tags are ‘virtual’ sticky notes that make it easier to group and retrieve electronic documents. They’re the computer equivalent of color-coded Post-its, labeling files with macro-level contextual information. For instance, tags can separate files based on their privilege, custodian, source, etc., making it easier to pull up similarly tagged files using just a single mouse click. So, a UI that helps you link files based on their tags can significantly speed up your reviews. For example, if your tags show that 80% of your case’s emails are linked to custodian Bill Waterson, you’ll know to pay special attention to Bill. Learn more about tags.
- Metadata is a file’s digital footprint, tracking things like who created the file, when they created it, when it was last modified, etc. And a UI displaying this brand of contextual information can offer critical insights. For instance, if the majority of your emails’ primary dates (e.g., the ‘sent’ date of each email) are clustered around a particular year, it could help you establish a timeline for your case. Learn more about metadata.
3. An intuitive ‘advanced search’ builder to find niche files.
You’ll need a powerful search engine to help you find responsive files. And the best search engines help you build complex ‘advanced’ searches. With ‘simple’ searches, you use a single keyword – e.g., ‘accident’ – to find responsive files. But with an ‘advanced’ search, you get more specific. For instance, you could ask your software to ‘Find emails sent between Sally Turner and Pam Bosely that mention the February car accident.’ But building this sort of niche search can get complicated as your software combines conditions (what/where to search) and operators (connectors like AND, OR, NOT, etc.). So, the best UIs keep this search-building intuitive with simple drop-down menus you’ll arrange and rearrange to get your search instruction just right. Learn how to build an advanced search
4. A stepwise production ‘wizard’ to prepare your final productions.
All eDiscovery reviews lead to a final production, so you’ll need a UI with a reliable production wizard. The best production wizards help you:
- Choose a production format. You can choose to produce files in their native format – e.g., producing Word files in their DOCX file format, Outlook inboxes in their PST file format, etc. Alternatively, you could convert all your files into a common PDF or TIFF format for more uniform productions that are easier to share.
- Arrange your files (and their attachments) in a convenient order, either alphabetically (by folder/file name) or by date (oldest to newest or vice-versa).
- Number and stamp your files using custom stamps (e.g., the tags you’ve assigned) or Bates numbers. You’ll be able to use multiple stamps, choosing where on the page they’ll go.
- Redact privileged information by placing ‘redaction boxes’ over sensitive text. In ‘preview mode,’ these redaction boxes stay translucent, keeping the text readable. But in ‘final mode,’ the underlying text and images are scrubbed thoroughly and permanently. Learn more about electronic redactions.
If you’re looking for these types of simple-but-powerful eDiscovery features, consider subscribing to a cloud eDiscovery service.
GoldFynch is an example of an eDiscovery subscription service with a simple-but-powerful UI. It comes packed with all the features we’ve covered and others designed specifically for small and midsize law firms. For instance:
- It costs just $25 a month for a 3 GB case: That’s significantly less than most comparable software. With GoldFynch, you know what you’re paying for exactly – its pricing is simple and readily available on the website.
- It’s easy to budget for. GoldFynch charges only for storage (processing files is free). So, choose from a range of plans (3 GB to 150+ GB) and know up-front how much you’ll be paying. You can upload and cull as much data as you want, as long as you stay below your storage limit. And even if you do cross the limit, you can upgrade your plan with just a few clicks. Also, billing is prorated – so you’ll pay only for the time you spend on any given plan. With legacy software, pricing is much less predictable.
- It takes just minutes to get going. GoldFynch runs in the cloud, so you use it through your web browser (Google Chrome recommended). No installation. No sales calls or emails. Plus, you get a free trial case (0.5 GB of data and a processing cap of 1 GB) without adding a credit card.
- It’s simple to use. Many eDiscovery applications take hours to master. GoldFynch takes minutes. It handles a lot of complex processing in the background, but what you see is minimal and intuitive. Just drag-and-drop your files into GoldFynch, and you’re good to go. Plus, you get prompt and reliable tech support.
- Access it from anywhere, and 24/7. All your files are backed up and secure in the Cloud.
Want to find out more about GoldFynch?
For related posts about eDiscovery, check out the following links.
- A Complete Glossary of Essential eDiscovery Terms
- A Quick Primer on GoldFynch’s eDiscovery Software
- How to Download eDiscovery Data Remotely Using ‘eDiscovery Collect.’
- A Free PST Analyzer to Check If Your eDiscovery PSTs Are Intact
- Use This In-Browser PST Viewer to Explore Your eDiscovery Emails For Free
- The Secret to Choosing the Best Low-Cost eDiscovery Software for Your Small Law Firm
- How To Make Your eDiscovery Productions Less Hackable
- Is Social Media the Future of eDiscovery?