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Australian Department of Human Services launches new look website for easier access to Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support services

Above image: Screenshot of new homepage of humanservices.gov.au 

The Australian Department of Human Services (DHS) has launched a new look website, which is meant to make it easier for people to read and access Centrelink[1], Medicare and Child Support information and services online.

The new humanservices.gov.au site was switched on in late August, after comprehensive research and public testing. The Department worked closely with the Plain English Foundation and the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) to improve the readability of payment information and update the site’s design and interaction experience.

The Website Reform project started in January. The improvements in design are the result of engagement with web, content and service design specialists as well as more than 2,500 community members, staff and third parties from a broad spectrum of social and cultural backgrounds. An initial trial site was launched on 28 June 2017. More than 57,000 people visited the site and provided over 1,800 pieces of feedback, which helped refine the new design and features.

Enhancements to the website included simplification of the language used for more than 90 payments and services. Over 138,000 words have been reviewed and revised to meet plain English standards.

A new look and feel was adopted to make the site easier to use, especially on mobile devices; and an improved on-site search function and additional navigation has been incorporated to help people quickly find what they need.

A guide to the changes made can be found here: https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/website-design-changes

Following successful assessments against the first two stages (Alpha and Private Beta) of the DTA’s Digital Service Standards, the new site design moved to live release.

Minister for Human Services, Alan Tudge said, “The new website makes it easier to find information, which will reduce the need for people to call or visit a service centre.”

“This is just the beginning of our site’s improvements with further content and usability enhancements to be applied over the next year,” Minister Tudge added.

These changes constitute one element of the government’s service delivery transformation – which also includes the billion-dollar Welfare Payment Infrastructure Transformation (WPIT) programme, upgraded myGov site (a revamped version of myGov was launched in May this year), new $600 million telephony system, the streamlining of other welfare payment claims, 250 new call centre staff and other measures to reduce call wait times and improving processing efficiencies.

[1]Centrelink delivers a range of government payments and services for retirees, the unemployed, families, carers, parents, people with disabilities, Indigenous Australians, and people from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds, and provides services at times of major change. Its primary role is the disbursement of social security payments.

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