The Innocence Project was founded in 1992 in order to exonerate wrongly convicted persons through DNA testing, and reform the criminal justice system to prevent future injustice. Today it is the leading legal organization fighting for the rights of innocent people, with millions of website visitors and hundreds of thousands of supporters on social media.
But the Innocence Project website was struggling to keep up. It had lots of disorganized information, was built on outdated technology, and was cumbersome and restrictive when the Innocence Project staff wanted to use it as a tool to engage with their online audience.
Madeo was invited to redesign the website, and create a platform that allows supporters, researchers, and policymakers to engage with the stories of exonerees in meaningful ways. We also were brought on to build dynamic ways for the Innocence Project staff to seamlessly manage the complex layers of content across the site.
A key purpose of websites for non-profits is often to showcase their impact on the world, and the Innocence Project is no exception. Through exploring the website ourselves and then validating our assumptions with surveys and data analytics, we found that there were many unnecessary layers separating people from important information, like the stories of who the Innocence Project helps.
One of the major tasks was reorganizing the extensive and cluttered information architecture of the website, which had many pages and pockets of content that had built up over the years, and no longer had a clear purpose or home. We kept many of the same elements, but stripped out as many superfluous layers to make sure the most important content on the website got the most attention. As a result, the client stories and pages to help the Innocence Project, such as on getting involved or donating, became much more prominent.
From a technology standpoint, we rebuilt the website from the back-end to the CMS for greatly improved security and usability. That approach led us to also revamp the storytelling tools available to Innocence Project staff, including how they can feature important news stories and updates, and share compelling visuals that relate to their mission.
The new website has helped the Innocence Project collect contributions from its online supporters more easily, by redesigning the user experience of how someone gets to the donation page across the website. The new website also presents supporters with clear, actionable ways to get involved that the old website lacked or only alluded to in passing.
And perhaps most importantly, the Innocence Project team has new and empowering tools to share online stories of their mission and impact. Thanks to the success of the new website, Madeo and the Innocence Project continue to collaborate on projects to support the work of helping exonerate innocent people.