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Interactive Annual 19:
Websites/Microsites

Milwaukee Police News

Launch Live Site

“We might expect this look-and-feel from a clothing line, but from a police department? The Milwaukee Police’s daring use of contemporary design turns the notion of what constitutes a civic site on its head.”
—Dave Curry

“An elegant and effective site design, and a valuable service to the community.”
—Scott Prindle





Overview: To fix the Milwaukee Police Department’s (MPD) image problem with the people it serves, Chief Ed Flynn wanted to make the department seem more than just competent and professional—he wanted it to appear innovative. To help create that perception, this site gave the MPD a new digital face that’s the polar opposite of a typical government website. It not only enhances the MPD’s image, it’s also an easy wat to generate millions of free impressions. A parallax scroll provides depth and movement, and bold and engaging photography have transformed a typical government site into a thing of beauty.

  • • The site was an extension and evolution of the MPD’s “Be a Force” campaign, a rebranding effort that included TV, print, radio and online ads.
  • • The site was developed in four months with HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, jQuery and Flash.
  • • Five layers were used on the homepage to provide the sharpest appeal of the parallax scrolling feature. From front to back are the main content area, the middle vehicle with two officers, the police car on the left, motorcycles on the right and the ground.

Comments by Chris Jacobs

What was the most challenging aspect of the project? “Compatibility. We couldn’t fail to help someone in the community just because they’re using an older browser. It was important to make use of the best technologies available on the web while supporting as many people as possible. And we had to make sure the website not only loaded quickly, but also displayed in the correct format. A lot of time went into testing and optimization to make sure all of this was possible.”

Is the audience you were targeting a particularly difficult one to reach? “Our audience is the citizens of Milwaukee. While they’re not a particularly difficult-to-reach group, they’re certainly not accustomed to seeing their local police being so proactive in social media. But that was part of our plan; it not only helps the MPD seem more contemporary and innovative, it also creates a level of accessibility that encourages the people of Milwaukee to help the police make the community safer.”

How many visitors has it received since launch? “There’s been a 933 percent increase in traffic versus the previous period; visits from social media have increased 1,011 percent (from 16,163 to 179,548 visits), making it a larger source of traffic than Google; page views per visit are up 461 percent and the site’s bounce rate has dropped from 79 to 37 percent.”

Credits

Zack Schulze, senior art director
Chris Miller, senior writer
Frank Dalton, user experience designer
Shawn Holpfer, associate creative director
Chris Buhrman/Brian Ganther/Matt Rand/Todd Stone, creative directors
Chris Jacobs, executive creative director
Marshall Ross, chief creative officer
Tim McCord, strategy
Jeff Salzer, photographer
Karen Kirsch, art buyer
Robin Griffin/Nicholas Modesto, interactive producers
Ellena Radovancevic, project manager
Gina Ferrise, retoucher
Cramer-Krasselt (Milwaukee, WI), project design and development/ad agency
LISS Interactive, development partner
Milwaukee Police Department, client


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