Finalist 2023

UNICEF Australia Website

Luminary / UNICEF Australia

UNICEF Australia engaged Luminary to undertake a website rebuild, including a complete reimagining of the site’s design and information architecture.

As the world's largest organisation working to protect children, UNICEF is one of the most universally recognised charities. UNICEF Australia aims to deliver long-lasting positive impact for children in Australia and around the world. As a 100 percent donor-funded organisation, its website plays a critical role in enabling it to roll out its programs. With an ageing website that was doing little to establish its uniquely Australian positioning, UNICEF Australia approached Luminary to help redevelop its site.

Design Brief:

UNICEF’s mission is to help children survive, thrive and fulfil their potential, from early childhood through to adolescence. The organisation’s digital assets play an important role in achieving this mission – especially as donor activity shifts increasingly online. For UNICEF Australia, there is an added challenge in carving out its own identity and raising awareness of the activities it undertakes domestically. With an ageing website that was doing little to establish its uniquely Australian positioning, UNICEF Australia approached Luminary to help redevelop its site.

Additional objectives of the rebuild were:

  • to streamline content publishing – especially crisis appeal pages,
  • to optimise the donor flow,
  • to attract new staff and volunteers, and
  • to craft experiences that would facilitate a better connection with the organisation’s key audiences.

Luminary undertook the project as an end-to-end engagement, from discovery through to implementation and continuous improvement.

This project was developed by:

Design Process

Our philosophy is that the best outcomes are always underpinned by a thorough understanding of the problems to be solved. For this reason, the engagement commenced with a comprehensive discovery process.

The discovery phase began with internal stakeholder consultations to gain a high-level understanding of the challenges and objectives of the organisation. From here, we moved into analysing the available data, including: Analytics Review, Brand and Heuristic Reviews, and Competitor and Comparator Reviews. Following these reviews, the discovery moved into user interviews, where we recruited a range of representatives from the audiences we identified in the earlier stage of the process, including teachers, parents, students, philanthropists, jobseekers and volunteers. The insights gleaned from these interviews informed user flows and process maps outlining what each audience was trying to achieve on the site.

The next stage was to take a deep dive into the site’s Information Architecture (IA), with a workshop involving representatives from the primary audiences. During this workshop, four groups sorted 100 pages into four sitemaps, which we then distilled into a single draft sitemap. The resulting IA features were – among other things – a simplified navigation structure and a tool that allows users to self-select their audience category to tailor their user journey.
The final stage of discovery focused on technology, with a review of UNICEF Australia’s technology requirements and a recommendation on CMS selection.

The findings of the discovery process helped to define the direction of the resulting site, with key takeaways including a greater emphasis on storytelling based on individuals, as well as highlighting the impact of donations. There were also valuable insights into how best to connect with youth audiences, including focusing on inspiring youth figures and utilising Instagram and Tik Tok.

Design Excellence

From a functionality perspective, the new donation flow was an area of particular focus. The outcome was an integrated conversion funnel that gives users more ways to donate and raise funds.

One of the aims of the project was to address the existing site’s lack of Australian tone of voice and represent the important work UNICEF does locally. Luminary worked with UNICEF Australia to create Australian-centric copy and use images of employees and volunteers working with Australian people.

Accessibility was also a key area of focus. During the discovery phase, we learnt that the global UNICEF brand colour scheme was not fully compliant with the latest accessibility standards. Low contrast ratios throughout the existing site meant that much of it was not highly accessible to users with vision impairments. To bring the site up to AA accessibility compliance without compromising on global brand guidelines, Luminary worked with UNICEF Australia’s marketing and brand teams to create a ‘high contrast mode’, which allows the user to view content in a much more accessible way.

Design Innovation

Much of the global UNICEF brand is based on the combination of the well recognised UNICEF blue and white, which, as previously mentioned, resulted in challenges for accessibility. To address this, we designed a high-contrast mode that can be enabled by users. Once activated, users are presented with a high contrast set of styles that replace the styles that are non-compliant. We were not in a position to alter the globally recognised UNICEF brand, however we were able to develop an alternative viewing experience for users who might want to access content that better meets their needs.

Another area of design innovation is the way in which appeal pages are able to be built in a matter of hours, which includes an innovative donation purchasing funnel. This funnel was redesigned and built from the ground up, enabling contextual information to be pulled through from different parts of the site depending on the user’s viewing behaviour. We learnt that prospective donors are more likely to complete a donation payment if the information is contextual and presented to them in more meaningful parts of their browsing experience.

Design Impact

The new site has delivered substantial improvements in conversion rate, SEO performance and overall site health. In the first two months following the launch, the site’s conversion rate was up by 79% compared with an average over the same period for the previous three years. The site’s SEO score in Lighthouse is now at 92%, up from 79%. There has also been a 99% reduction in site errors and a 37% improvement in site health. In addition, the site’s accessibility score has gone from 83 to 87% – this is before even taking the high contrast mode into consideration (Lighthouse scores only measure the site’s default settings).

According to UNICEF Australia’s (former) Head of Performance, Insights and Growth, Jonathan Nolan, the new site provides a far more seamless experience for users, with the discovery underpinning a whole new design and IA. “The intensive discovery process helped us to better understand and address our audiences’ needs, including what support was needed, best practices, and what our competitors were doing.

“Before, we had an inconsistent design and it was hard for people to find certain things. Cardsorting [in the discovery phase] ensured we were designing for a much more consistent experience and people could find what they needed much more easily.”

The new site also caters to a wider range of audiences, thanks to insights gleaned from discovery. Rather than just focusing on financial supporters, the new site much more effectively engages non-financial audiences, including parents, teachers, students, prospective volunteers and job applicants.

Digital Design 2023 Finalists


GetMee - Balendran Thavarajah / AMES Australia - Mirta Gonzalez- General Manager of Education / VFS Global- Harpreet Singh- Global Lead- Australia and New Zealand Regional Head / VFS Global / Deakin University- Dr. Pubudu Pathirana & Carol Doyle- CEO You Study International College / GetMee Anjali Kushwah - Experience Designer

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