Designing an inspiring science and technology learning experience to empower future STEM leaders

We partnered with Questacon (the National Science and Technology Centre) and the federal Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER) to help architect a refreshed website.

Designing an inspiring science and technology learning experience to empower future STEM leaders
  • Deep insight into the differentiated behaviours and needs of frequent Questacon visitors, such as families, STEM students and educators
  • A confident understanding of technology infrastructure that supports the website, and the ability of GovCMS to support the needs of backend administrators in future
  • Detailed technical requirements and Agile User Stories to guide the development of the platform in the short, medium and long term
  • Current state research
  • Journey mapping
  • Customer experience
  • Customer research
  • Digital strategy

Understanding the visitor experience

To design an updated, we started by speaking with parents, educators from across Australia—who are primarily behind visits to the site and the museum—to gain insight into their expectations and experiences during on-site and online interactions. We used these insights to inform a set of customer journeys and personas that illustrate the different behaviours, needs and expectations for parents and educators when engaging with the website.

We made detailed journey maps depicting key interactions and tasks on the website, such as centre visits, educational tours and teacher resources. Each journey detailed the key steps, channels, pain points and opportunities people encounter when interacting with the current Questacon website. These helped us plan how online and offline activities could better complement each other, and identify opportunities for experience uplift across individual journeys.

Gaining insight into the expectations and experiences of visitors during on-site and online interactions.

Early stage prototyping

We also used early-stage prototyping to test and learn with educators and parents. This iterative approach meant we could be fluidly responsive to user feedback and improve our prototype designs efficiently through each testing cycle.

To illustrate the potential look and feel of the new website, we developed a series of interactive high-fidelity prototypes that brought to life the future experience, from exhibitions and visiting information to educational materials and resources.

The interplay between the two organisation’s technical environments informed decisions on finding the most suitable platform.

Providing technical expertise

A specific question was whether Questacon should make a change from its current content management system to GovCMS. A key aspect of our technical assessment, therefore, was figuring out if GovCMS was the right choice to deliver Questacon's vision. In addition, they also needed help with identifying other technical requirements to guide the build of their new website, including:

  • A feature list that balances user needs and Questacon’s strategic priorities
  • A detailed list of backend requirements for site administrators, and
  • An assessment of technical security standards

Our efforts ensured Questacon and the Department can make informed decisions about the most suitable platform for their current and evolving needs and technical capabilities, and the interplay between the two organisation’s technical environments.

A roadmap for the future

Detailed user stories ensure that Questacon can confidently and incrementally fulfil its vision. We identified over 70 Agile User Stories to guide the development of the new website across the short, medium and long terms. We categorised each story across these three horizons to distil a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) version for the refreshed website and an accompanying roadmap showing how it can evolve to continue meeting the needs of users, stakeholders, and the wider STEM community into the future.

Subscribe to Paper Giant

Each month, our team share their thoughts on design-related topics, reflect on current social issues and share what’s happening in and out of the studio. We'll also include an invitation to our monthly meet up, Office Hours. We'd love you to join us.

Three paper airplanes flying through the air into people's inboxes.
Paper Giant

Paper Giant acknowledges the Wurundjeri and Boonwurrung people of the Kulin nation, the Ngunnawal and Bundjalung people as the Traditional Owners of the lands on which our offices are located.

We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of Country on which we meet and work throughout Australia. We recognise that sovereignty over the land has never been ceded, and pay our respects to Elders past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this website may contain images and voices of deceased people.