An Introduction

Asylum Seeker Resource Centre is an organisation based in Melbourne, Australia. Their objective is to give support to individuals seeking asylum in Australia. They help with food, legal advice, housing, employment training, clothing, medical issues and are essentially a community where members can feel safe and at home.
ASRC Mission: That all those seeking asylum in Australia have their human rights upheld and that those seeking asylum in our community receive the support and opportunities they need to live independently.

The Problem

Asylum Seekers need to find important information on the ASRC website. Currently the find-ability and accessibility of the information is very low. Typically, the users of the ASRC website do not speak English as their first language.

The Solution

Create a digital space to allow Asylum Seekers to find important information quickly and easily. Allow non-english speaking users, and users with a low-level understanding of technology to access the information.

The Scenario

Fahim has been in an Asylum Seeker detention centre on Christmas Island for the past 18 months and has moved to Regional Victoria 10 days ago. He needs legal advice to apply for a bridging visa. Fahim cannot read any English, and speaks very little of the language. An  Asylum Seeker in his community has told him to go to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) website to find help. Fahim has used a computer only a handful of times;  he visits his local library and attempts to find the legal information.


We created three personas based on interviews with current members of ASRC. The time spent with members gave the team an incredible insight into the current and potential usage of the ASRC website. It also allowed us to create realistic personas with genuine attributes.

Competitive Analysis

During our current state analysis and user testing of the current site, we came to the realisation that there were three main features that we needed to improve to create a successful experience: 

Change language – Search based on postcode – Find contact details

We researched these three features and took inspirations from other sites and organisations who are doing it successfully.

The Journey

We decided to create a user journey based on the entire journey that Asylum Seekers go through before they land on the ASRC website. This helped us realise that this website is a tiny part of their overall journey, however, a simple and successful user experience can considerably reduce the stress and confusion of arriving in a new city without food, water, housing, clothing, legal advice or language. This website, if designed well, can reduce this stress and help families find their feet in Australia.

Sketching and Ideation

A sketch session resulted in some very solid ideas and solutions. A full weeks worth of ideas and  frustrations were poured into a few hours of sketching, discussion and iteration.

Information Archetechture

The Information Architecture of the ASRC was an interesting part of this project. The find-ability testing of the current site demonstrated major issues.

Using affinity diagrams, digital card sorting, and ‘treejack’ find-ability tests, we were able to isolate the major issue, and a relatively simple solution.

The structure of the IA for Asylum Seekers needed to change from the ‘structure of the organisation’, to the ‘needs of the Asylum Seeker’. We were very successful with this process, and post testing demonstrated this success very clearly. The ‘treejack’ diagrams demonstrate the success in simplifying the user task of ‘finding the food truck location’

Paper Prototype

From the sketches, we created a paper prototype and completed some initial user testing to see if we could find any issues with the process. Test early, test often.

First Prototype

The prototype was designed in Sketch, and then created with InVision. 

One of the main purposes of the prototypes was to test the ability to change language. To test this with english speaking users, we duplicated the prototype into Vietnamese and asked users to complete tasks in an unfamiliar language to replicate the stress that an Asylum Seeker might be feeling.

Second Prototype

The second version of the prototype was created based on the user testing results of both English speaking users, and non-English speaking members of ASRC. We were able to eliminate all major issues and confusion.

Clickable Prototype

User Testing

User Testing of both the current site, paper prototypes and the InVision prototypes was incredibly valuable. We quickly isolated issues, and were able to respond. One of the interesting issues that we faced with our users was very low technology skills. We had to instruct many of participants how to use a mouse – this influenced our iterations significantly.

Content Strategy

This particular website requires two content strategies; one for the ‘Supporters’ of ASRC, and one for the Asylum Seekers. We concentrated on the content strategy for the Asylum Seekers.

The main five recommendations for content strategy are below:

1. Lower the reading level of the content to an 8 – 10 year old reading level.

2. The content needs to be image driven. Iconography will play a large part in reducing frustrations.

3. All text needs to be scannable.

4. Learnability – many of the ASRC members have low technology abilities. Therefore the website needs to teach its users how to navigate and use the technology as they go.

5. Remove all distraction. If a piece of content does not serve a purpose, it does not belong on the website.


1. Restructure the content to be based on the ‘need’ of the user, not the organisational structure.

2. Create a separate site on a subdomain which is tailored for the needs of Asylum Seekers.

3. Implement Search throughout the site.

4. Increase the use of imagery and iconology.

5. Increase the rate of learnability for users with limited exposure to technology.

6. Remove all distractions from site – if it doesn’t serve a purpose, remove it.

7. Lower the reading level of content to 8 – 10 year old level.