Tourism New Zealand

Improving user journeys

Seeing the opportunity

Tourism New Zealand Logo

Tourism New Zealand (NZ) had recently redesigned its website newzealand.com. While the new site looked great, it wasn’t receiving the same usage as it did before the re-launch. Tourism NZ was getting a lot of negative feedback from tourism operators as well as prospective visitors. Tourism NZ wanted to understand why, and what they could do to increase usage.

Our approach

We worked with Tourism NZ’s website manager to build a compelling case for a human-centred redesign of the website, and successfully made that case to the Tourism NZ Board and CEO.

We began the redesign with an expert review – which diagnosed 81 usability problems, including 30 critical issues like broken information architecture (IA) and failed calls to action such as users not seeing where to go to purchase. The expert review recommended a range of quick fixes that newzealand.com developers could implement right away, and a range of longer-term solutions that required more design work. Fundamentally, the site looked good and boasted some excellent content, but the interactions between users and content just didn’t work – meaning visitors couldn’t get to the information or take the actions that they wanted.

We conducted a range of human-centred design activities over several months, including:

  • research with tourism operators and site visitors on how they use the site, documented as a set of personas and validated with customer interviews
  • tree testing the site’s IA (navigation structure) and using card sorting to design and re-test an alternative
  • running co-design and ideation workshops to generate alternative solutions to tricky design problems for each persona
  • crafting new interaction design patterns and prototyping them for user testing
  • conducting two rounds of usability testing on those prototypes in Australia, China, and America.

We completed the project by delivering iterated wireframes based on user feedback, with a set of annotations for Tourism NZs developers.

Delivering results

The new interaction patterns built into newzealand.com have had a significant impact on the customer experience. Referrals from the site increased 18 per cent for the year after the redesign – representing hundreds of thousands more people contacting New Zealand tourism operators. Tools like the ‘trip planner’ tool – a key interaction on the site – saw a 300 per cent increase in usage. The researched personas continue to be invaluable in day-to-day decision making for Tourism NZ.

“A year of continuous design and usability improvements has resulted in the site’s strongest 12 month period – referrals are up 18 per cent for the year”

– Catherine Bates, GM Brand and International PR, Tourism NZ

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