Australian Bureau of Statistics

Content design and strategy

Every 4 years everyone in Australia participates in the Census – an important data-collecting event that captures statistical information about the who/what/where of us on the night. 

Traditionally done on paper, the Census is gradually going digital. We were asked to help Census along on its evolution to being a digital survey of Australia.  

Creating content in quick sprints

To collect accurate and complete data, the Census wants as many users as possible to answer all of the questions. Content plays an important in helping users to understand what they are being asked and get to the end. We reviewed and rewrote content in prototypes used to test the user ‘journey’ through the 2021 Census online. We revised content according to the outcomes of user testing in rapid sprint cycles, bringing intelligent listening to conversations to reconcile the user experience with important data collection outcomes. 
Content design 

The ABS understand their users really well, so we had access to lots of evidence and insights to inform content design work that we did for the project. We wrote hundreds of user stories and job stories to capture everything we could about what users need and ask for in different scenarios.

Content strategy foundation work

To get a cohesive content strategy started we conducted stakeholder discovery workshops to confirm business requirements and analyse user research for content outcomes. We wrote user stories for review and confirmation by stakeholders, researched user vocabularies and drafting a content strategy.

What is the Census

The Census seeks to find out who we are and what we think, do and need – all with the view to helping plan, provide and fund the infrastructure and services we need. It also builds an historical picture of how we as a society are changing as time moves on.

There is a lot to be gained by moving the Census online – saving trees, reducing the cost of distribution, making the survey easier to complete, removing the task of inputting data and reducing possibility of errors creeping in, and reaching more people on the night. But with change comes uncertainty and resistance. We gained a fascinating insight into how Australians respond to this phenomenon. The ABS understand those misperceptions, responses, misinterpretations, barriers and challenges, which are being tackled by the survey designers, data collectors, marketers, statisticians and support staff.

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