Case study

User research makes for better communication

Client: Federal government agency
Activity: User research
Project: Website improvement project

By helping our government client better understand its different audiences, Weave’s user research transformed the way the agency communicates with the public.


A government agency often in the media spotlight, our client needs to communicate about complex science and policy that has a real impact on communities, businesses and the environment. 

The problem

The agency suspected user needs were not being met by the website, and wanted to combat pervasive misconceptions about the agency and its work.

Weave was tasked with improving the information architecture and content to meet user needs. We knew user research was going to be crucial to doing this well.

What we did

While the agency had previously thought of their users as either ‘informed’ or ‘uninformed’, our initial stakeholder discussions and desk research showed us that a more layered understanding would help identify user needs.

We saw the need to undertake in-depth qualitative research with a range of users, from farmers to city dwellers, from environmentalists to community leaders, and across demographics. We interviewed 25 people over 6 weeks, covering all of these groups.

The results

Through these interviews we found that:

  • there were several groups of users, who used different language to describe what they wanted to understand

  • people missed important content that could answer their questions, or assumed they would not be able to find information

  • when people understood more, they trusted the agency more, even when they disagreed with policies.

We identified six types of users based on differences in knowledge, demographics, behaviours and needs, and created an archetype for each. Each archetype has a distinct user journey, specific information needs and different levels of understanding, and each uses different vocabularies.

As part of our research report, we delivered a summary of these archetypes and content recommendations based on each. The archetypes were adopted across the agency to help inform the way the organisation communicates with different audiences.

We also gained vital insights into where, why and how some misconceptions were being formed.

What happened next

We used this understanding to: 

  • create a lean content program that could be delivered quickly and within the current platform

  • redesign the information architecture of the site to reflect users’ mental models 

  • create and rewrite important new content that met high-priority user needs. 

Using deep insight and a lean, targeted content program we helped our client create a new website architecture that met user needs without rewriting and redeveloping their entire website. This is how: