The Victorian Ombudsman (VO) plays a vital role in ensuring our public services stay accountable. Victorian citizens are increasingly demanding that digital public services are as easy-to-use as those delivered by the private sector. It was time for dramatic change.
When public services fall short, there is a lot of stress, anxiety and mistrust, especially for the more vulnerable members of the Victorian public. We had the opportunity to deliver a redesigned digital service to support a sector-leading service experience where complaints are transformed into change.
We kicked off by running workshops with internal stakeholders. This allowed the team to map out and better understand the service delivery, the audiences, and their assumptions of the service.
Our new website will mean Victorians get through faster to the organisation that can help. Working with Today, we set clear goals from the outset that included reducing ambiguity for our users. There was a real sense of partnership. Today took the time to understand our users' needs and our organisational practices and pressures. In return, we were able to benefit from their expertise and up-to-date industry knowledge.
We are thrilled with our modern, elegant, warm and clear website. It has given our organisation a strong foundation for the future. It will make it so much easier for Victorians to access and understand our services.
Communications and Media Manager, Victorian Ombudsman
Co-designing and testing the concepts and prototypes with users meant we were able to capture the level of communication expected after a complaint was submitted, ensuring people feel informed, up to date and at ease during the complaint process.
Our testing focused on the process of making a complaint, language and tone of voice, understanding what the VO has the power to do, and what resources are required for a user to feel confident using the service.
“Are all the ombudsman departments within the same organisation? Is there a switchboard to connect you to the right one?”
People feel comfortable when they understand what the VO can help them with and what they cannot. Being warmly handed off to the appropriate Ombudsman was less of a burden or inconvenience, as soon as people understood why.
Users valued the feeling of power in a situation that can feel ambiguous and where power is perceived to be imbalanced. The feeling of power comes from having all the information they need to feel confident in making an informed decision or action.
“If you’re nervous about making a complaint in the first place, waiting for an outcome is bloody stressful.”
“The unknown is the worst.”
The new Victorian Ombudsman site is striking in its clarity of design and purpose. The user-first, evidence-based design works to meet the needs of Victorians in providing a platform that contributes to the improvement of public services, free from ambiguity.