Design Your Future
Engaging the youth of Auckland to share their ideas for the city’s future.
Team Project • Social Campaign • 2022
Auckland Council with Media Design School
- UX Research
- UX Design
- Interaction Design
- Front-end Development
- Project Manager & UX Designer: Calais Soper
- Graphic Designer: Katie Jones
- Motion Designer: Ethan Hiku
- Motion Designer & Back-End Dev: Jono Morriss
- UX Designer & Front-End Dev: Dio Ambudi
January — March 2022 (8 Weeks)
Every year, the Auckland Council proposes an annual budget for the city’s expenditure and runs a consultation for Aucklanders to get involved with the local government that represents their feedback. The 2022 budget includes the recently announced Climate Action Plan.
In the past, most of Auckland's youth haven't been involved in this process which leaves this huge demographic out of the conversation about how their city should run.
The Auckland Council tasked my team with finding a way to encourage the youth or rangatahi to make submissions on the annual budget so that they can be involved with the future of Auckland.
The outcome was a responsive and dynamic website that offered rangatahi a creative way to submit feedback by drawing — more accessible and appealing than the usual stuffy forms.
Develop an interactive and empowering way to submit feedback on the Auckland Council's annual budget and Climate Action Plan
The Auckland Council wants to grow its involvement and engagement with young people so they can participate and give feedback about their city. The current submission process is full of boring forms that young people just aren't going to fill.
How can we make the process of giving feedback more fun and inspiring?
Previous collaborations between our uni and the council tackled the same challenge, but the feedback received from participants wasn't considered legitimate. Our outcome had to go live when consultations opened in March 2022 and the physical scope of our project was limited by Covid restrictions.
The current submission process has people read walls of text about the budget and fill out an online form asking how much they agree or disagree with each statement. This generic and tedious method wasn't very inviting for users to fill out (if they made it that far). This resulted in poor conversion, low engagement, and less submissions.
When we tested the form with young people, they lacked the motivation to fill it out and found the process unrewarding. By forcing Auckland's youth through an unengaging online form, the annual budget misses out on a huge demographic of submissions.
We explored alternative formats of community engagement, such as live installations, physical murals and gamified websites. We saw what worked with these alternatives and mixed aspects to create new ones for our campaign.
One of our initial concepts was a huge live mural in the city centre, which would invite people to share their ideas with the public. However, the onset of a Covid wave kept Aucklanders at home and limited our reach on the streets, forcing us to reconsider this idea.
Our project developed into an online experience, through a website tied to a social media campaign. The campaign would reach out to rangatahi, prompting them to draw their ideas about Auckland's future and share them online for others to see. Through this digital medium we could still engage with Aucklanders under Covid restrictions.
In order to motivate and inspire our users, they needed to see the impact of their participation and of other people’s submissions. By sharing everyone's ideas with each other, we hoped to connect a community of Aucklanders to get involved with their city's future.
The goal was to amplify people's voices and to make the submission process fun
Throughout the development of the website, we user tested each iteration with students and other young people. I was responsible for testing the flows for finding information and submitting idea drawings.
Key pain points we uncovered during testing included young people without an Instagram account to share submissions with. We remedied this by adding a direct upload straight for the canvas to the mural. We allowed direct submissions to add their own caption and name to mirror Instagram submissions.
Once we hammered down the submission interaction, we had to figure out how to get people to it. We wanted users to easily understand the purpose of the campaign with brief summaries of the Climate Action Plan and simple onboarding for the online mural.
With our key topic pages we iterated with concise copywriting and a linear structure to smoothly lead people from learning to submitting.
The mural compiles Instagram posts with the #DesignYourFutureAKL hashtag and direct submissions from the website. The result is a colourful assortment of drawings in a masonry-style layout.
The purpose of the mural was to display people’s ideas, to spark conversations and inspire viewers to make their own submission with the digital canvas.
The digital canvas allows users to draw their ideas for the future of Auckland. Users can either share drawings to their Instagram feeds or directly to the digital mural. When sharing directly to the mural, users are encouraged to a simple caption to explain their ideas.
Below is a live demo of the digital canvas. Draw your own ideas and save them for yourself!
The consultation process ran through March 2022. With over 5000 hits, the website developed from a simple static explainer page, into a whole new avenue for submitting ideas directly to the Auckland Council.
All the submissions from Design Your Future (website, Instagram, scribble walls) were given to the council as a collective submission. The Auckland Council considered all feedback and approved the annual budget in June 2022.
This was my first time working on a real-world design project and it was truly exciting seeing it live for real Aucklanders to interact with! Seeing all the submissions shared to the online mural was awesome and made me feel hopeful for the future of Auckland.