Flinders Street Station Design Competition Rejuvenating
- User Experience Design
- Visual Design
- Custom Development
- Winner, Victorian Digital Government Award 2014, Engagement category
- Dual Finalist, 20th Annual AIMIA Awards, 2014, Best Digital Advertising or Communication (Government & Non-profit)
- Best of Websites & Online Services (Government & Non-profit)
The Project The people’s choice.
As part of the Victorian government's international design competition to redevelop and rejuvenate Melbourne’s Flinders Street Station, August developed a unique voting platform – the People’s Choice Award.
Flinders Street Station is the meeting place for Melburnians. If its clocks could talk they would tell you a million different stories. Over the years the station had become tired – a place for people to rush through rather than to engage with or enjoy. It needed to change.
The State Government of Victoria recognised this. In 2012 they initiated the Flinders Street Station Design Competition. The competition sought the best ideas from around the world to re-energise the station and its surrounds, and keep the heritage features everyone knew and loved.
It wasn ’t a new idea – the original structure was the result of a design competition in 1899 – but it had one important difference. The People ’s Choice Award.
The award had a single definitive goal. Give people a say, inform them, but make it meaningful. And that’s what we did. In just six weeks, August developed a unique voting platform that smashed all expectations.
Voters were taken on a design journey and a critic’s journey. They were given insights into the thought processes behind the design concepts of each of the six shortlisted designs, and the tools to critique those designs one by one.
People were empowered: 18,974 people from 161 countries cast their vote and made their voices heard.
“A significant amount of research and energy was applied to the site’s usability, interactivity and voting process.”Lucy Bell Major Projects Victoria
Approach User first.
The People’s Choice needed to be up and running in six weeks. Six weeks to design a responsive, interactive website on desktop, tablet and mobile, to ensure a secure hosting environment, and keep it simple and accessible.
Partnering with Major Projects Victoria, we hit the drawing board – and the streets – in a serious way. For this project to come in on time and on budget, we needed to work smarter than ever before.
We harnessed the expertise of the team, across strategy, project management, design, information architecture, development and analytics.
Our research showed that a mobile-first responsive design would be crucial if we were to capture the primary audience: people on their phone, travelling through Flinders Street Station. The station would be the hub for most promotional activity.
At August, we have a deep understanding of how visitors like to interact with information across a series of devices and in a variety of situations.
The responsive design catered for multiple devices – mobile, tablet, desktop. We tailored the design and user experience to each device, so that no matter where or when a voter accessed the site they were met with a simple, streamlined voting process.
The user interface upheld Flinders Street Station ’s brand and heritage, but it needed to be innovative. The voting process contained a depth of information that users needed to be aware of when casting their vote.
The risk was that the sheer amount of information would overwhelm the user.
We made it our mission to architect the site in such a way as to deliver information to the user so they didn’t need to look hard to find it. The voting needed to take no longer than between 10 and 20 minutes.
Users were presented with visual feedback during the voting process. They could share across social media – and they did so in droves – 31% of votes were referred to from Facebook and Twitter.
A lot was going on front of house in terms of PR, media and even political debate, but behind the scenes much time, thought and discipline was dedicated to hosting, laying the foundation for a seamless set of hosting requirements that meant when things got hot, the site would remain robust. No one likes a site crash. We put measures into place so this didn ’t happen.
The result was The People ’s Choice voting platform, a responsive, beautifully executed and developed campaign for Major Projects Victoria – planned, built and launched in just six weeks.
August collaborated closely with Major Projects Victoria.
To get inspired, Major Projects Victoria took us on a tour through areas of the station not accessible to the public – including the famed Grand Ballroom. It gave us an incredible insight into the inner workings and history of a Melbourne icon.
Major Projects Victoria provided us with a strong set of brand style guidelines. They opened up the archives, giving us access to some amazing imagery.
It became more than just a project, it became a partnership.
What we absorbed and learnt during the conceptual process created the foundation for the look and feel of the website, its colour palette, typography and imagery.
Having not run a campaign like this before, the team at Major Projects expected to get around 1000 votes. At campaign end, close to 20,000 people from 161 countries had cast their vote.
Custom icons with an old-worldy feel
Deliverables What we did.
For The People ’s Choice, at top of our list was to create a website that gave people a voice. We designed and developed a process that enhanced the experience for the visitor.
- Before we hit the screen, we went through extensive prototyping on paper;
- We developed a robust online voting process; engineered and designed for maximum engagement and vote conversion;
- We designed a clean, elegant showcase of the six finalist submissions;
- We built secure online voting processing, storage and records management;
- We developed a system for the confirmation of vote/notification emails (including social integration for sharing and encouraging social spread);
- We delivered a fully responsive website, with functionality across mobile and tablet devices.