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Case study


A website to stand out visually and perpetuate a powerful message


StreetWise carries a great purpose. The Chicago-based non-profit workforce development agency empowers those facing homelessness by providing access to the resources and employment opportunities so individuals can work toward self-sufficiency with dignity. A great purpose requires a flawless website! Our Gold Partner Marcel Digital took that challenge. The major goal was to design and redevelop StreetWise’s website to include easy to use functionality, navigation, and a truer representation of the brand using Umbraco Cloud.

Skills used

  • Design
  • Content Creation
  • Umbraco Cloud


  • Media
  • Public sector & charity

Partner doing the case

A great solution that brought great results ✨


✅ 22 % decrease in bounce rate       ✅ 7 % increase in pages/session

The beginning

StreetWise promotes entrepreneurship in a way that it empowers their vendors to become entrepreneurs. The organization provides Chicagoans in need with, “a hand up, not a handout.” It's a message that often gets lost when people hear the name StreetWise.

We, Marcel Digital, wanted to change that by greatly improving the website using Umbraco Cloud.


The challenge

We sought to create a new design that focuses on the message of entrepreneurship empowerment, weaving it throughout the homepage. We had to improve the layouts, especially the home page, and make sure to add informative and engaging content.

StreetWise also publishes a magazine, which raises awareness on the impact of poverty and homelessness in Chicago, across the US, and around the world. It is among the largest “street papers” in the United States and serves as a model for street papers across North America.

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By engaging the unemployed and underemployed as vendors, StreetWise magazine is able to personalize the face of Chicago’s poor while, at the same time, provide them with a viable income opportunity.

Joined Streetwise Covers

Therefore it was of essential importance to create an easy way for visitors to find nearby vendors. The original vendor map on the old website was difficult to edit, which consequently evolved into an outdated map.

Overall, it was challenging to edit the website, and much of the content became outdated. That all changed when we put StreetWise on Umbraco Cloud.

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The solution

We leveraged Umbraco Cloud to quickly and cost effectively create the StreetWise website. Using Umbraco Cloud we were able to allow StreetWise to control the hosting while allowing us to work on the website effectively. 

We were also able to integrate Umbraco Cloud into our Visual Studio Team Services workflow to have automated deployment after code reviews by the team.

This gave us, Marcel Digital, more flexibility in creating the website. Previously, StreetWise was developed on WordPress, which turned out to be limiting and costly.

Streetwise Hero Homepage

“We needed to find a cost effective CMS giving StreetWise full control. The content edit had to be quick and efficient,"

Catherine Merton, Account Lead, Marcel Digital

The result

The StreetWise content editors find it very easy to add and edit content within the Umbraco interface. It is sleek, easy to navigate key features and organize content.

Now it is also very easy to add and edit vendors on the vendor map. StreetWise leverages the best parts of Umbraco Cloud including deployment of content from different environments and hassle-free automatic upgrades done by Umbraco Cloud itself.

Streetwise Website Joined2sm

Although not standard, we were able to link Umbraco Cloud into our release management system hosted in Visual Studio Team Services to maintain our normal workflow of Umbraco site creation.

Now our client can easily update the website on a more frequent basis.

The new website has already proven itself: the bounce rate decreased by 22 percent, while pages per session increased by 7 percent.

"I can’t believe how simply Marcel Digital and Umbraco Cloud made it to get a beautiful, easy-to-use website. My only regret is not doing this redevelopment earlier,"

Dave Hamilton, Creative Director, StreetWise

View solution View partner website

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