An immersive Website by DDB featuring a tiny Cyclist taking you through Edmonton’s 2021 City Plan

By Howard Poon RGD, VP Design at DDB


In the coming years, Edmonton will add another one million people to its population — doubling itself within its current boundaries. How do we get residents, potential residents and businesses excited about an urban plan? Our primary objective was to communicate the key points of the City of Edmonton’s 2021 City Plan in an engaging and memorable way to bring residents onside and attract new business energy. 
We knew the execution of this website needed to be sophisticated, future-forward and engaging. The experience of the website needed to reflect the plan. The experience needed to inspire confidence in the vision by connection. That is the expectation of an urban plan. And it had to communicate the excitement felt by planners and the excitement that could be possible in a city set to achieve great things in its future and on behalf of residents and businesses who call Edmonton home.
We created an immersive website experience with scroll-triggered animation and data visualization — engaging until the very end. 
For several kaleidoscopic minutes, you’ll scroll through city streets, past downtown skyscrapers through the trees, up into the clouds and back down again — all following the flowing movements of a cyclist. Along the way, you’ll learn about the city’s vision for today, tomorrow and what comes after. Oh, and you can download the full 182-page City Plan PDF too
Our top Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) were scroll depth and PDF downloads (plus overall site traffic). Within the first seven months of launch (January 2021), there have been over 54,664 sessions, 3,224 PDF downloads and over 11,369 scrolls to at least 75% depth on the homepage. Impressive for a city plan that normally only planners would care about.
Some of my fave social media sentiments about the project:
“Whoa. This beautiful website takes a look at a beautiful city building plan.”
“Edmonton giving us some Apple-like vibes and I love it. Mind blowing piece of storytelling.”
“More websites should have a tiny guy on a tiny bike.”
Creative Direction: Eva Polis, UI Design: Paulina Van Vliet, Copywriting: Jon Manning, Illustration: Tyler Balser, Maps: Ray Lam, Account Lead: Helene Leggatt, Digital Strategy Lead: Kate Leadbeater, Project Management: Keltie Radke, Interactive Development: Danillo Castilho, Digital Delivery: Johannes Gertz and Production Manager: Liz Knox.
Howard has a reputation for frank feedback and has a low tolerance for complexity. He stays curious with a subscription to the Sunday New York Times and talks openly about his colour blindness and his addiction to espresso. As VP Design for DDB Canada (Edmonton), Howard collaborates with a cross-disciplinary agency team of strategists, creatives and designers to use insight-driven design to build exceptional brands. Over the years, his team’s work has appeared in Communication Arts, Applied Arts and has been recognized with international, national and regional creative awards. Howard is passionate about nurturing young talent. 

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