Designing the 2021 Census experience

    The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) is committed to delivering a better Census experience. The ABS Census team invited Meld Studios to help them:

    • Explore and define a joined-up, end-to-end, cross-channel experience that enables more people to successfully self-complete the Census; and
    • To build human-centred design skills within their team.
    Designing the 2021 Census experience

    What we did

    We visited 54 people in their homes, across 7 urban and regional locations in NSW and Victoria. We included people who were “motivated” and “unmotivated” in completing the Census. Our aim was to observe how they responded to different ideas for completing the Census.

    We explored ideas around:

    • Completing the Census online
    • Paper forms sent to your home
    • Support from staff in your home or at a service centre

    This activity gave us a rich set of insights and further ideas for how to improve the 2021 Census.

    What we did

    Building knowledge of ABS staff

    60 ABS staff and stakeholders participated in 2 exploration workshops and 8 show cases. 3 staff also worked closely with us throughout the project. This gave staff hands-on experience in using the inclusive and iterative process of human-centred design.

    Created tools to inform further work

    We consolidated all of our learnings into:

    • A detailed research report;
    • Journey maps illustrating the ideal experience for selected ideas;
    • Posters with key principles for designing the Census experience.


    Key achievements so far:

    • An overarching vision for the 2021 experience across all channels;
    • More detailed design briefs for each context; and
    • New skills to apply a human-centred design approach.

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    Coaching the Australian Bureau of Statistics to create new digital services

    Australian Bureau of Statistics is on a journey to become a human-centred organisation, with the aim of delivering better services for the people of Australia. Meld Studios is supporting ABS with this ambition. It is a multi-year journey that has started with building in-house design skills and coaching teams as they navigate a range of projects.

    Curious how we can help? Lets chat.