If the DMV is the physical manifestation of an inefficient and needlessly bureaucratic government, the websites of most government agencies do a fine job of bringing that frustration into the digital world. The overwhelming majority of them are disorganized, unsightly, and bursting at the seams with sections, sub-sections, buttons and links (often times in underlined blue text, betraying how hopelessly dated the pages really are). But the new website for the Milwaukee Police Department is different. It has a striking design, with vivid background images that stretch across the screen. A parallax scrolling effect makes photographs of officers and squad cars slide dynamically into place. And in perhaps the most radical departure from a typically labyrinthine police department site, Milwaukee Police News has only five different sections, and you don’t have to click any buttons or links to get to them.
The project began about a year ago, when Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn visited the local office of design agency Cramer-Krasselt to talk about building a new site for the force.