Connecting with constituents online.

The City of Denver provides more effective online services and communications using Adobe Creative Cloud for enterprise. 

Established

1858

Population: 700,000
www.denvergov.org

50%

Less time

required to create the Office of the Clerk and Recorder’s annual report

Objectives

Encourage constituents to conduct more business with the city online

Produce professional communications quickly and for less cost

Help employees communicate with constituents and other government teams more effectively through visual communications

Results

Reduces time needed to prototype web pages from three days to four hours

50% less time required to create the Office of the Clerk and Recorder’s annual report 

Empowers employees to quickly create visual content that boosts public engagement

Simplifies content creation by using libraries to share assets quickly and keep branding consistent across departments

Meeting the needs of a growing city

Residents of the Mile High City—Denver, Colorado—love their town. The city’s booming economy and proximity to the Rocky Mountains are just two reasons why Denver has become one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States.

The City and County of Denver wants to make life better for residents, current and future, as it continues to grow. This means making every interaction with the government quick and easy, whether people want to look up event schedules, request a permit, sign up for the composting program, or adopt a pet from a city shelter. Today, that means taking advantage of digital channels to inform constituents and help them access services online.

“We aim for a service-oriented approach in everything that we do at the City of Denver,” says Chad Menard, senior web administrator for the City of Denver. “The goal is to create empowering online experiences for constituents. Whether it’s through the City of Denver website, social media, or newsletters, every department needs to communicate and work with the public through digital channels.”

Given the city’s commitment to providing excellent services across all departments, from the Division of Motor Vehicles to Parks and Recreation, teams in Denver wanted tools to streamline creating and delivering high-quality digital information and services. With that in mind, the city adopted Adobe Creative Cloud apps to help employees city-wide to serve the public through professional, well-designed communications.

Taking services online

As the city’s most significant digital services and marketing platform, the City of Denver website is often where constituents look first when they have questions or want to connect with government services. Many department heads and program managers are turning to web administrators to help create landing pages, microsites, and web pages that support their initiatives and get vital information in front of the public.

The City of Denver recently switched to Adobe Experience Manager, an Adobe Marketing Cloud solution within Adobe Experience Cloud, to improve creating and delivering website content. With Adobe Experience Manager Sites as the content management system, web authors can quickly create modern webpages optimized for any size screen.

While Adobe Experience Manager streamlines website creation, Menard and other web administrators use Adobe XD when prototyping website and landing pages. Starting with Adobe XD templates that mimic the website layout, web administrators can quickly build out interactive prototypes of websites and landing pages and share them with department heads or program managers.
 



The adoption rates for online services have been fantastic. For example, in just one year, the percentage of quick permits issued electronically jumped from 3% to 70%. With the right creative tools, we’re creating new web content faster, which allows us to boost citizen satisfaction by meeting demand for digital services.

 

Chelsea Warren
Communications Coordinator, City of Denver



Unlike basic wireframes or static images, stakeholders can click through a prototype to get a clear understanding of how a page will look, feel, and work for visitors. This means that even people without a background in design or visual communications can intuitively understand the design and provide more specific feedback for the web administrator, such as adjusting the layout to highlight a call-to-action.

XD has another clear benefit: speed. In the past, creating mockups for a simple 10-page website might take 2 to 3 days. With Adobe XD, web administrators can create an interactive, responsive prototype in just 4 hours. This enables the web team to put more information, forms, and services online quickly, which is critical as the city works to make it easier for citizens to access services online. Denverites can pay parking tickets, trace election ballots, report potholes, or apply for building permits online from any desktop or mobile device.

“We looked at some of the most requested tasks and put them online,” says Chelsea Warren, communications coordinator for the City of Denver. “The adoption rates for online services have been fantastic. For example, in just one year, the percentage of quick permits issued electronically jumped from 3% to 70%. With the right creative tools, we’re creating new web content faster, which allows us to boost citizen satisfaction by meeting demand for digital services.”

Empowering employees to become creators

Whether agencies want to remind employees about an upcoming holiday or encourage the public to recycle, visual communications can go a long way to capturing audiences’ attention and helping information stick. More employees are discovering that they can create interesting and professional communications quickly and easily through Adobe Spark.

With Adobe Spark, anyone can quickly learn to make an online presentation, create a social media graphic, design an online newsletter, or create a short video to explain a topic. These assets have helped increase engagement with departments’ messages compared to plain-text messages by encouraging retweets, likes, clicks, and comments. Some videos created with Spark Video and posted to the Denver Public Works social media feeds have even been featured on local news programs, spreading the department’s message even further.

City agencies, such as the Office of the Clerk and Recorder, have used Spark to quickly create compelling, visually attractive communications. The office used Adobe Spark to prepare its annual report in about half the time normally required.

Even staff members with design experience, such as digital marketing strategist Kersten Arnold, rely on Spark to create videos or polished graphics for social media quickly. Rather than starting from a blank slate, Arnold can use one of the well-designed Spark templates. Many of the City of Denver’s branded assets are pre-loaded into Spark, so Arnold doesn’t have to look far to find the branding she needs.

“Visual communication is an important part of any job these days, but it can be intimidating for people who don’t normally work with design,” says Arnold. “We want to empower people from every department to be creative communicators. By making design tools more accessible, we can help people create content that will catch audiences’ attention and get them engaged.”
 



“We don’t always have the budget to work with design agencies on every project, but we still want to make sure we’re delivering professional, attractive communications. By empowering people in every department to become content creators, we can stretch budgets further while providing high-quality services the public trusts.”

 

Kersten Arnold
Digital Marketing Strategist, City of Denver



Sharing visuals and resources

Content creators across every department use Adobe Creative Cloud apps such as Adobe InDesign, Adobe Illustrator, and Adobe Photoshop to create posters and publications, design logos and graphics, and enhance photographs for both print and digital collateral.

With a growing number of authors across the city, the City of Denver is starting to take advantage of Adobe Creative Cloud Libraries to create sharable asset libraries. If someone is looking for a sunny view of the Denver skyline or the correct logo for a particular agency, they can head straight to the library to find the asset they need. Having one common location for all assets not only helps content creators work faster, it also allows the City of Denver to maintain consistent branding and quality across all government communications.

While the City of Denver hires local photographers to capture the changing Denver skyline and local points of interest, the city also works with stock photography services to build out its image library. Adobe Stock is often the first place that content creators look for unique stock photography. With millions of available images, designers can use the intelligent Visual Search features, such as Depth of Field, Vivid Color, and Find Similar. These features powered by Adobe Sensei, Adobe’s artificial intelligence and machine learning technology, make it easier for designers to find the perfect image for any website, email, or flyer.

“As a government agency, we need to make the most of our resources,” says Arnold. “We don’t always have the budget to work with design agencies on every project, but we still want to make sure we’re delivering professional, attractive communications. By empowering people in every department to become content creators, we can stretch budgets further while providing high-quality services the public trusts.”