THE ZOOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF MILWAUKEE WEBSITE
The Zoological Society of Milwaukee (also known as ZSM) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to conservation, education, and supporting the Milwaukee County Zoo. The ZSM team offers incredible education classes and camps for children of all ages, works on sustainable conservation efforts for Wisconsin on beyond, and fundraises for the Zoo to help maintain, update, and create new habitats, exhibits, programs, and more.
2021 DAVEY AWARDS GOLD – Nonprofit Website
2021 DAVEY AWARDS SILVER – Best Website Home Page
2021 DAVEY AWARDS GOLD – Best Visual Appeal Website Aesthetics
ZSM sells a number of products, offers special memberships to the zoo, takes donations, and provides important education to the public, but their old website was no longer effectively serving their needs. The Society reached out to Ocreative to develop a new website that would be user friendly, that could seamlessly integrate their eStore and membership functions, and that would do a better job of defining who ZSM is and how they work with the Milwaukee County Zoo.
Because the Society wanted the website to function as an educational tool, a portal to the eStore, and act as a guide to the Milwaukee County Zoo, we took a mobile-forward approach to the design. We began by working with their eMarketing committee to audit their existing content, learn more about their needs, and identify key areas of opportunity to improve their user experience.
After concluding our qualitative and user research, we created a much more concise site map that narrowed down their number of pages from 400+ to less than 100. We identified a document management system that would help the Society team easily maintain and archive their publications. We also curated a unique and robust mega menu system that uses images, icons, maps, event toggles, and text to help users find the information effectively.
To make sure the website was engaging for all ages, our graphic design team paired the Society’s original photography with custom illustrations, photo and text treatments, and icons to break up content and keep users interested. Each page was optimized to drive a specific user journey with unique calls-to-action, clear information architecture, and concise headlines. We also developed custom video for each page header to help users experience the Zoo digitally.
The structure of the website itself was optimized to match their mission of conservation, education, and support. These values are reflected in the menu structure, the website content, and even in the design.
We took a mobile-first approach to this website to ensure that all users, regardless of device, have the same smooth user experience. Much of the website was optimized for mobile users to help capture traffic as they explore the Zoo (looking at exhibits, catching a Kohl’s Wild Theater performance, learning about conservation, or attending a class or camp.) Now zoo goers that may not know about ZSM have every opportunity to learn about their mission and their work through one great web experience.
The new website is also fully optimized to meet ADA standards for accessibility to make sure that all users can enjoy its contents without missing out. We included a special plugin that allows those with disability to adjust the text, colors, and images of the site to prevent sensory issues and ensure screen readers and other aids work properly.
The new ZSM website is a wonderful reflection off all the that the Zoological Society of Milwaukee does for our community, for the Milwaukee County Zoo, and for our world.