Case Studies


The Brief

The Essential Services Commission (ESC) promotes the long-term interests of Victorian consumers with respect to the price, quality and reliability of essential services.

The ESC had anecdotal evidence indicating that customers experienced difficulties when comparing energy offers and when engaging with retailers to change to an identified better offer. The ESC engaged U1 to conduct a focused review of individual and small business’ experiences in the retail energy market when comparing and switching energy offers, and particularly using comparison sites. The ESC was interested in learning about the pain points and complexities experienced by Victorian consumers and how this affected their levels of trust in energy competition.


After facilitating a stakeholder workshop with the commissioners, U1 developed a two-stage research approach involving 40 participants across Victoria who represented a broad range of different consumers including individuals and businesses.

Part 1 involved a 90-minute session where we interviewed and observed participants as they researched and switched energy plans as they normally would. This included any conversations they had with energy comparators and retailers.

Part 2 was conducted two weeks later and involved a 30-minute follow-up interview with each participant to understand what had occurred since that first interview and to discuss their experiences. This included any further interactions they may have had with comparators and energy providers, what decisions they’d made, how they came to that decision and what the outcome was for them (e.g. if they had changed plans, providers, or decided to go back to their original plan).

By observing and understanding the process of how consumers research the market to compare how their current plan compared to alternatives in the marketplace, and switching energy providers from end to end, U1 was able to deliver a comprehensive report which illustrated and organised the findings and recommendations. We identified clear pain points where consumers frequently misunderstood the information provided by energy comparators and retailers and were able to uncover a range of factors which contribute to consumer trust.

The key deliverables for this project were a detailed report, personas and current state journey maps that reflected the consumer experience and a presentation of the research to the Commission. The insights from this research will be included in the upcoming consumer competition review.

Woman working on laptop with child in her arms

The Brief

Spotify is a global leader in music streaming with a 40% market share servicing 232 million active users.

The challenge was to remove barriers between low-effort users and a beautiful music experience, without compromising the tailoring options which high-effort audiophiles currently enjoy.

In response Spotify built a prototype of a simplified music streaming service which starts playing music instantly and has an interface reminiscent of scanning across radio stations. Originally titled Zero Tap Radio, this is now known as Stations by Spotify.

Spotify engaged U1 to conduct contextual research to deepen their understanding of the needs and motivations of low effort users in the Australian market whilst also identifying opportunities for improvement in the user experience of their proposed app.



Working closely with the New York based design team, U1 conducted 24 contextual inquiries across Melbourne with participants identified as probable ‘low-effort’ users. U1 consultants visited the 24 participants in their homes or at their place of work to reach a rich understanding of the behaviours and values engaging with music.

Each visit explored;

  • Discussion around personal life, hobbies, and technology usage and integration.
  • A current state music experience: exploring where, when, why, and how users were listening to music. Their music goals, pain points, device and source preference were discussed.
  • Ideal future state music experience exploration, discussing how users envision the future of music engagement.
  • Reactions to Spotify Stations prototype. Participants used the prototype and provided their first impressions and discussed what worked well and what could be improved.

In addition to the contextual inquiries, U1 developed a detailed ‘Cultural Landscape’ report. This highlighted the emotional values and transactional behaviours of Australian users which may peripherally influence a user’s engagement with a new app driven musical experience.

For example, the desire for ‘a fair go’ among Australian consumers who often experience limited access to entertainment content due to regional licensing laws. Similarly, the high price of mobile data plans in Australia compared to other markets can influence streaming decisions among Australian consumers.

U1 delivered a detailed report of evidence backed design recommendations to improve the user experience. The report uncovered the pain points currently experienced by potential users and explored the ways in which Stations by Spotify can solve those pain points.

The report also detailed participant’s first reactions to the prototype, and any opportunities to improve the usability of the app.

Four personas were created to help illustrate user values and when paired with the cultural landscape report, ensured the international team was well prepared to empathise with and keep the user at the centre the design decision making process,

The Stations by Spotify app was released on schedule and received immediate praise, currently it is rated at 4.7 on the Apple app store and 4.4 on Google Play.


The Brief

Deliver a completely new website which provides a positive, modern user experience for its target audiences and ensures people users can complete the tasks they visit the site to do.
The new website should minimise the time and effort users spend finding and understanding the information they seek and completing transactions.
as well as minimise the number of calls and emails to the WWC Check Unit’s Customer Support team, from people seeking information that is on the website.
Lastly it should maximise user confidence in the site at the different stages of their involvement with the scheme.


In response, U1 led a collaborative approach. As experts in user research we wanted to work with the best in digital content and web design. By combining efforts with Avion Communications and Fluid we brought together three industry specialists.  The department of justice and community safety (DoJCS) enjoyed streamlined project management by liaising directly with U1, and was confident that the research and prototype validation was completed without bias.

The updated website was delivered on schedule and received immediate praise from users with a marked drop in web related queries and complaints.

  • U1 provided the research and design recommendations for the layout of the new site.
  • Avion provided the content and recommendations on writing for the web,
  • Fluid provided the website prototype.
  • U1 provided independently testing the prototype providing minor recommendations to the final design.
  • Fluid then integrated the recommendations into the final design.



The Brief

Pitcher Partners provides a broad spectrum of specialised professional and individual services. They had identified that their website did not effectively support the complex ecosystem across the business. Although the main pages are updated regularly, fragments of outdated information across the site did not accurately reflect the culture and brand nor support the long-term goals of the national organisation.

Before investing heavily in updating the site’s structure and content, they wanted to discover how the site is being used, by whom and for what purposes. Additionally, Pitcher Partners wanted to understand if the site was meeting user’s expectations both internal and external and where it could be improved.


U1 looked holistically at the business ecosystem and developed a multi-modal research approach, looking internally across Pitcher Partners as well as with both new and long-established customers.

U1 conducted separate discovery workshops with senior stakeholders and graduate interns,

One with the national marketing leads designed to;

  • Reveal assumptions about how internal and external users use the website,
  • Identify knowledge gaps in their understanding of the users, and
  • Define questions for later research stages.

The other with graduate recruits to;

  • Map the experience of applying to work at Pitcher Partners,
  • Understand the role of the website in their decision-making process when applying for graduate positions,
  • Uncover what professional and cultural expectations were developed when using the website prior to commencing at Pitcher Partners,
  • Discuss what changes could be made to improve the experience and the accuracy of the expectations developed by graduate recruits prior to starting,
  • Card sorting to prioritise communication methods.

U1 also conducted 15 in-depth interviews with partners, lateral hires and Pitcher Partner clients representing large and small contracts, new and established, and a range of professional services to understand;

  • What role does the website serve in their engagement with Pitcher Partners,
  • Does the website reflect the experience of engaging with Pitcher Partners,
  • What changes could be made to better serve the clients using the website,
  • With Pitcher Partner staff including senior partners and lateral hires covering a range of specialties to understand;
  • What their impression and understanding of the current site is
  • How they use the site currently and how they would like to use the site,
  • What goals do they have in serving clients, and how could the site support those goals.

By conducting both internal and external research, the findings were triangulated across all stakeholders in the business. This provided clear and reliable recommendations on how to address the needs and expectations of all users of the site, and ensured stakeholders across the organisation were consulted and invested in the new site direction. Pitcher Partners are using the insights and recommendations to inform the foundations of the long-term website strategy.



Participants engaging in a design research workshop

The Brief

Deliver a research backed digital signage strategy which determines where and how digital signage is the appropriate mechanism for providing information and interactions of value to customers based on their needs across the City of Boroondara.


U1 developed three resources to guide the selection, installation and governance of digital signage across the City of Boroondara.

        1. An implementation policy and framework document which establishes standards for Council to follow when using digital signage and details how to select the most appropriate type of screen to ensure the content is effective. The document maps site specific immediate improvements which can be made with minimal expenditure, and long-term improvements which require significant investment to become leaders in digital customer experience.
          The framework includes clear governance requirements describing roles and responsibilities to see that signage is well used, supported and maintained for the long term, bringing value to Council’s customers.
        2. The strategy itself which covers in detail how Council should best approach digital signage from today until 18 months into the future. The strategy defines what is (and what is not) digital signage, and provides clear recommendations on how digital signage can address a comprehensive range of customer needs.
        3. A detailed matrix of screen types and content types, produced in Excel format to allow for easy filtering by venue, content type, frequency of update and whether it is more suitable to a display screen or an interactive screen/kiosk. The matrix also indicates the priority to Council and users and scope for impact.

The Brief

Eighteen month after launching its new website, RAA recognised that the site was not meeting its full potential in helping deliver on the strategic plan. The team was keen to understand issues standing in the way of members and other users of their website being able to more easily ‘self serve’.


It was clear that members value the “human touch” services of the RAA and being a part of a local organisation. We grouped our Future State Recommendations into themes that mirrored RAA’s business strategy, to help them prioritise different ‘pain points’ and to support the internal adoption of the initiatives. The roadmap included recommended projects to increase engagement with members, to adopt staff training programs for content and usability, and introduce personalised content for members.

Project: RAA

The Brief

Industry Funds Services (IFS) provides a range of  financial planning, insurance and investment solutions to industry super fund members throughout Australia.

IFS wanted to explore the viability of developing a suite of online tools to help industry fund members to better understand their superannuation choices and make super and financial related decisions.

IFS engaged U1 to conduct discovery research to investigate the needs and expectations of industry fund members when making decisions about their super and retirement, and explore their use of digital advice tools (also known as ‘robo advice’) to help with their financial decision-making. This research would provide insights to help IFS in its design and development of a new suite of digital tools to assist industry super fund members with financial advice.

IFS wanted an approach that delivered on its objectives in a cost-effective way and opened up the opportunity for a diverse range of industry fund members to participate


We chose a mix of qualitative and quantitative methods for this project to ensure that we could explore the how’s and why’s of participants’ financial choices, behaviours and preferences through depth interviews and workshops and then validate our key findings with an online survey.

We recruited a mix of participants who were;

  • At different stages of their superannuation and financial journey,
  • Had different occupations and salary ranges,
  • Had different levels of knowledge about and engagement with robo advice tools,
  • Who lived in different areas of metro, regional and rural Australia.

The project was divided into three sprints:

  1. First, we conducted 12 in-depth customer interviews to explore their needs, attitudes and expectations in regard to making financial decisions (super and non-super related). The interviews probed current experiences and future expectations and used examples of current digital tools to stimulate the discussion.
  2. Next, we moderated two workshops, each with eight participants, to further explore customers’ needs, priorities and preferences, particularly in regard to using robo advice to support financial and super-related decisions. The workshops explored participants’ greatest financial and super concerns and their preferred sources of advice. The group format allowed participants to share knowledge and discuss various digital advice tools including their preferred features, how information was communicated and presented and what they expected to do with the information.
  3. Finally, we conducted an online survey completed by 150 respondents which quantified and validated some of the key themes and opportunities arising from the interviews and workshops. Themes we explored included tools and sources for financial decision-making, frequency of digital tool usage, device and feature preferences, confidence in using digital tools and next steps after using digital tools.


U1 provided a detailed report and verbal debrief at the end of each sprint of the project. The debriefs provided an opportunity for us to collaborate with IFS in the design of each follow-on stage, using the findings to inform the specific line of enquiry for the next phase of research.


U1 also developed a consolidated report which allowed us to focus more closely on key themes arising across the entire project. The report identified the specific advice needs and preferences of each market segment, detailed potential barriers to the uptake of digital tools (and ways to mitigate against these challenges) and included a high-level  ‘personal advice’ journey map and prioritised feature list.


Overall there was a strong correlation of findings, both with IFS’s own internal research and across the three stages of this research project, allowing IFS to confidently approach the next phase of its digital tool design and development with a robust set of findings and recommendations.




The Brief

AGL launched a pilot program with Melbourne based customers for a product called ‘Solar Exchange’. This program allowed AGL’s solar customers to trade the excess energy they generate from solar panels and don’t use at home, with either family and friends or the broader market. Once the pilot was underway, AGL wished to gain insight into participants’ experience of the program and product, with a particular focus on:

  • assessing the effectiveness with which collateral explained what the product is and how it works
  • understanding perceived benefits of the product as well as potentials barriers to uptake
  • identifying opportunities for improving both the product itself and the associated digital experience


The service walkthroughs and contextual inquiries delivered insights into the end-to-end customer experience associated Solar Exchange, from initial product discovery and sign-up through to receiving a bill. Conducting home visits provided context into how and where customers engage with the product. The online survey allowed validation of qualitative research findings and provided additional confidence to the Solar Exchange team when making product related decisions.

As a result of this research, AGL were able to identify some quick wins for improving the digital experience of the Solar Exchange product. They also came away from this project with a greater understanding of the motivations and expectations that influence decision-making related to this type of product. These insights all fed into the development roadmap for this product.


AGL engaged U1 to better understand the experience of customers participating in our peer-to-peer solar energy trading pilot.

The contextual inquiries were performed expertly and respectfully, producing great insights into customer experiences, attitudes, and thoughts about the trial. We discovered reasons why customers were and were not referring their friends to the platform, and to what extent the pilot had met their expectations.

The quantitative survey was well designed and executed. It helped us unlock new ways we could improve the customer experience through better a communication strategy and digital experience.

Thanks to U1 we are now using the customer insights that came out of this research to guide our product development roadmap and to improve experience for our customers.

Brendan Whelan – Product Manager


The Brief

Aiming to make government transactions more streamlined and simpler, Service Victoria engaged U1 to conduct an ongoing program (fortnightly) of moderated user research, including usability testing and depth interviews, in order to gather feedback on the user experience of completing transactions from across a wide range of Victorian government agencies on the Service Victoria site.

The goals of testing were to:

  • Provide actionable insights and recommendations to ensure Service Victoria produces an accessible and centralised platform for conducting Victorian government service transactions
  • Understand potential barriers for entry when engaging with Service Victoria over a government agency; and the perceived benefits of engaging with Service Victoria over those agencies
  • Identify usability pain points of the transactions/features
  • Understand how content and language along with navigational flows, meet the needs of users across differing segments
  • Understand users’ needs and expectations for rolling out new site features

Some of the types of transactions and site functions that were tested across the project were:

  • Working with Children Check (Volunteer, Employee, Volunteer to Employee)
  • Ambulance Victoria membership (Single and Family)
  • National Police Check
  • Register a party with the Partysafe program
  • Register absence from residence
  • Chatbot feature
  • Identity Verification Processes
  • Digital wallet concept


Through fortnightly testing U1 was able to work collaboratively with Service Victoria through each sprint cycle to provide clear recommendations to improve the user experience, ensuring users received transactions and features that best reflected their needs.

Multi-round research ensured insights and recommendations from previous rounds were incorporated into design and development, eliminating usability issues.

U1 was able to help supplement Service Victoria’s understanding and further define the needs, behaviours, motivations and expectations of its users when interacting with the state government online.

With hundreds of Victorian government sector transactions available across 540 websites, Service Victoria is working towards streamlining these transactions on the one platform. Currently, Service Victoria supports 16 high volume government transactions.

Get in touch

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VIC 3000
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