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Co-design, research, and digital strategy to give people easy access to council services with City of Melbourne


The challenge

There are hundreds of services that require residents to transact with their local government. The existing digital service experience delivered by the City of Melbourne was poor by modern standards, and the team needed guidance and leadership to deliver a modern and consistent digital service that appropriately meets customer needs.

Impact opportunity

The City of Melbourne engaged Today to help them better understand their relationship with their customers and build a working prototype for a single digital interface—an online portal for completing a range of transactions.

The process

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The project commenced with user research; in-depth interviews to understand the digital preferences of citizens.

User research was complemented with analytics, a content audit and tech audit.

For many people, visiting Town Hall in person was significantly more efficient; with a single transaction taking 10 minutes, opposed to three days via existing online services. A goal was to make the digital solution as good or better than the in-person experience.


We embedded ourselves in the City of Melbourne team, working side by side. As one team—not an agency and their client—City of Melbourne were exposed to every part of the design process and could learn as they went.

Jacob Zinman-Jeanes
Design Director at Today

Our research showed us that creating another account or logging back into a system was a genuine blocker for people to get through a council transaction. Our team generated service concepts that didn't require the creation or management of a specific online account at all—we used unique identifiers like a mobile phone number and other small, unique data points to verify users.

Challenge the norm

By challenging the status quo of having another online account and login process, we found a way to radically reduce the friction of accessing services for citizens. And it's working.

The City of Melbourne shifted focus to a more holistic consideration of how their citizens could benefit and are now providing its community with better, more efficient online services.


This project won Best in Category at the 2017 Premier’s Design Awards in the Design Strategy category.


We delivered a design strategy and design capability toolkit so the solution lives on and can be scaled across other services. With rates, rubbish and parking permit services redesign—the latest addition implemented by City of Melbourne is their service for reporting unwanted graffiti.


Prototyping an omnichannel service experience for whole-of-government services with the Government of Victoria

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