Geoscience Australia’s
Community Safety website

Reshaping website content for an enhanced user experience

The client

Geoscience Australia (GA) is Australia’s pre-eminent public sector geoscience organisation. The nation’s trusted adviser on the geology and geography of Australia, GA applies science and technology to describe and understand the Earth for Australia’s benefit. Our client, the organisation’s Community Safety team, deals with some of Australia’s most important challenges – natural disasters – from a scientific perspective, generating vital data on a range of hazards including bushfires, floods, earthquakes, tropical cyclones, droughts, tsunami, volcanoes and more.

The problem

The Geoscience Australia website’s Community Safety portal needed desperate attention. A part of the GA website – the Digital Earth Australia portal – had recently been updated with a modern, user-friendly new design that the client wanted to replicate across the Community Safety pages.

From a content perspective, the Community Safety portal required a complete overhaul. It had too much copy – much of it in long, difficult-to-digest blocks of text – and was written by different authors, meaning there was no one single tone of voice. Pages were often filled with complex scientific jargon which was hard to understand, and the content focused mainly on what GA had done – not on how GA could help the user.

While scientists visited the site regularly, so too did emergency service workers, volunteers, federal and local government employees, insurance companies and university students, meaning the existing scientific language and long reports were not accessible for all. Overall, the portal needed more thought given to the user experience (UX).

The solution

Catch the Sun reworked all existing website copy following an ‘audience-first’ philosophy, making it user-centric by speaking directly to the reader and using first and second narrative voice terms such as ‘you’, ‘your’, ‘we’ and ‘our’. We rewrote copy in plain English, using an active voice, and edited out large sections of unnecessary content.

Working through the many scientific reports, we pulled out the most relevant information to highlight the work GA had done, outlining how this had benefitted the field of hazard management, as well as how this information could help current website users. We interviewed subject matter experts (SMEs) to create new case studies and project write-ups which could be read and understood by all.

Guided by templates created by GA’s design agency, we wrote scannable, bite-sized chunks of information, followed by clear calls to action across the site. While menu items were truncated and summarised for ease of viewing, full reports remained accessible for those interested with just an additional click. We structured content into landing pages, hazard pages, case studies and product detail pages, and batched up relevant GA data products, ensuring users followed a smooth and logical user journey.

The results

Catch the Sun provided GA with all requested content on brief, on time and on budget. The copy was uploaded into GA’s content management system (CMS) and the new GA Community Safety website was launched with a celebratory morning team attended by all involved stakeholders. GA was delighted that the portal’s fresh new UX-driven content complimented its redesigned visuals, and that website visitors are now able to find the information they need, quickly, easily and in a logical fashion.

Community Safety

As always, thanks heaps! You’ve really nailed it so far with the copy!”

Lucy Barnard, Communications Officer, Geoscience Australia’s Community Safety (Natural Hazards and Impact) team

Our work

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