Are you using your iPad in trial?

There are several iPad applications to show exhibits on courtroom projectors or flat-screen televisions. See my earlier reviews of Keynote and TrialPad. Take it from Steve Jobs, whose recent presentation to the Cupertino City Council masterfully demonstrated the persuasiveness of clear visual aids. (HT: Ernie the Attorney) Multimedia presentations matter for attorneys.

Here is a review of Exhibit A ($9.99), a trial presentation app for attorneys. What follows is the goodthe bad, and the bottom line.

THE GOOD

Exhibit A is a  low-cost alternative to expensive jury presentation software such as Trial Director. It allows you to create client folders and save multiple file formats (.pdf, .jpeg, .mpeg, .mp3) within each case file. A sample case file might include deposition transcripts, medical records, audio recordings, and photographs.

Files are added through Dropbox. You can also email documents to your iPad and select “Open-in Exhibit A,” but connecting through the cloud is preferable and more secure because it is encrypted and password-protected.

The documents render beautifully on the screen. Simply plug your iPad into the courtroom with a VGA or HDMI connector and your document will display on the projector or screen. If you have an iPad 2, your documents will mirror wirelessly with an Apple TV and iOS 5 (available soon).

THE BAD

Exhibit A could use some improvements, which I describe below.

First, it is slow to display documents. I uploaded a hi-resolution photo and it took several seconds to display it on the screen. Hate awkward pauses during conversation? Imagine staring at the jury while Exhibit A slowly retrieves your photo exhibit. Not fun.

Second, it is difficult to organize case matters within the app. To create a case file, you first select the “+” sign to add a new project:

Within that project, you can create folders:

Within that folder, you can add exhibits:

Third, the buttons are different fonts and oddly oriented on the screen (sometimes in the middle, sometimes hidden in the corner). Does user interface matter? Yes, if you want to focus on the witness and the jury during trial, not the app and its shortcomings.

Fourth, the highlighter annotation tool – actually, all of the annotation tools – basically mimic Microsoft Paint, rather than highlight sentences or paragraphs in documents, as you can do with GoodReader and TrialPad.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Exhibit A provides similar features to other applications, but the app is slow and its file structure is cumbersome and time-consuming. Clicking in the wrong place during trial and displaying the wrong document is a real possibility. Apps should make life easier, so I would wait until the developers at Exhibit A update their product.

For questions, comments, or help using the Apple iPad at work, please contact me at redean@gmail.com.

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About The Author

Rob Dean

Rob Dean is an attorney in Roanoke, Virginia, where he concentrates his practice on employment law and personal injury litigation. For help using the iPad at work, email him at redean@gmail.com.

3 Responses to App Review: Exhibit A for iPad

  1. Jennifer says:

    Interesting post. The interface, while in need of the updates you’ve discussed, may be a useful visual aid to the jury. The app presents core documents within a file system the jury can understand, complete with briefcase icons and potentially smooth transitions. I find it helpful to keep in mind that trial apps are not only for presenting word, audio, and visual files as a practical matter but to do so in a way that adds to your presentation seamlessly.

    Thanks for the good read.

  2. Bill C. says:

    Great post, thanks for sharing!

  3. Thanks for the review! We have released Version 1.3.0 (June 16) which addresses some of these issues, and added some powerful new presentation tools. You can check them out in an Introductory Video here: http://www.lecturaapps.com/videointroduction.html

    We are already working on the next version, which will address some of the other UI issues you have raised. For example, the slow loading of very large high resolution images will be addressed, and we will make it easier to import exhibits to a desired project or folder (something that has bedeviled the iPad from day one).

    And get ready for iOS 5 with iCloud and wireless presenting with AirPlay, both of which we will fully support.

    All the best,
    Michael Henderson
    LecturaApps.com

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