The Center for Alternative Sentencing and Employment Services (CASES) is an organization dedicated to increasing public health and safety through its innovative, evidence-based programs, including alternatives-to-incarceration, behavioral health, and community outreach services.
I have been privileged to work full-time at CASES over the last five years and, during that time, been witness to an organization experiencing significant growth. Since January 2012, CASES has more than doubled its staff, added over a dozen new programs, and opened a behavioral health clinic in Central Harlem.
Despite CASES’ rapid expansion, its website had remained largely static for several years. Although many of CASES’ alternative-to-incarceration services were still well-represented on the old site, newer services were relegated to the site’s margins. The site was built without a CMS, so updating its content was both difficult and time-consuming.
In 2016, I led a visual rebranding campaign, starting with the launch of a new CASES website I designed and developed.
Prior to the re-design, CASES’ site was only optimized for desktop viewing; trying to view the site from a mobile device was nearly impossible. The new iteration of CASES’ site was the first to be fully responsive.
The new referrals page allows judges, lawyers, and community members to recommend individuals directly to an appropriate staff member’s email. Previously, interested parties either needed to directly email a general information account or call a direct contact within the organization.
Many challenges encountered by those involved in New York City’s criminal justice system aren’t well known among the general public. If a first-time visitor were to stumble upon CASES’ website, they might not have the information framework to understand why CASES’ services are so vital to the people they serve. As such, we needed a way to quickly and compellingly communicate relevant information to visitors.
We determined the best way to address this concern was to sprinkle small infographics throughout the site.
A big priority when re-designing the site was making sure that its back end was accessible to more of the CASES staff. By using WordPress as a CMS, CASES’ communications team is able to easily add new content to the site without any HTML knowledge. Additionally, I built custom modules into CASES’ WordPress theme, allowing staff to make changes to copy without potentially compromising the rest of the site’s layout.