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Business Victoria and Ride to Live recognised at internet awards

Two Australian public sector websites are among the five finalists at the Webby Awards recognising excellence in government website design.

The Victorian government’s small business resource Business Victoria and New South Wales’ motorbike safety site Ride to Live are among the finalists in the running for the people’s choice awards described by the New York Times as the “internet’s highest honour”.

The other three entries include NASA’s GeneLab, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and a ‘reinvigoration’ of the British Royal Navy site.

Business Victoria’s site is an example of customer-centred design. The design process of the website, which assists Victorians in setting up, growing or promoting their business, involved months of consultation with entrepreneurs, tradespeople, exporters and migrants about their online needs.

Designed and developed by Melbourne-based design agency Thick, the site was made simpler, eliminating unnecessary images and options and cutting loading time by 17%. The number of visitors has since grown by 20%.

Adam Morris, founder and creative director of Thick said it was written in plain English and features case studies of real-life business issues. It was also designed to meet the need of users with a disability, without sacrificing functionality. Morris explained:

“There is a clear trend towards simple, modern web experiences that make life easier for people and gets out of their way — it’s the year of the Invisible Interface.

“We’ve seen this trend emerge from more progressive governments around the world like the UK’s Gov.UK, and more recently here at home with the federal government’s Digital Transformation Office and their Digital Service Standard initiative.”

Ride to Live was created in the knowledge that motorcyclists are often averse to safety messaging, especially from government. Although motorcyclists only account for 3.7% of road users in NSW, they comprised 15% of deaths in 2013.

The website was designed to provide safety information in a “non-authoritarian” manner, integrating an interactive hazard perception test with safety tips and a trip planner function. Before taking a route, users are able to see black spots and recent motorcycle accidents, as well as rate routes and share their planned trip on Facebook.

Although it has only recently gone live and results of behavioural change are not available, feedback from travel industry bodies and motorcycle groups is reportedly positive.

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The Mandarin

The Mandarin staff journalists.