ANSTO: Persona and I.A development and for the website redesign


ANSTO has a significant web presence that reflects the complexity of the organisation. When they acquired the Australian Synchrotron, a major organisational restructure commenced, including the combining of websites. With responsibilities that cover scientific research, commercial business, community engagement and international regulatory compliance, the potential audience was varied. blueegg would need to discover who the main audience was in order to guide our research, recommendations and design ideas for the new ANSTO website.

the challenge

ANSTO acquired the Australian Synchrotron from the Victorian State Government in 2016 and commenced a restructure of both organisations. This also meant combining 2 web presences into one, no mean feat when it comes to large organisations of any type, but especially so when scientific research is involved. The potential audience is heavily segmented and reflects the number of scientific instruments managed by ANSTO, along with the commercial arms of the organisation and members of the public.

what we did

  • Analysis & Research
  • Stakeholder alignment
  • Current IA review & card sort
  • Archetype identification
  • User interviews
  • Findings workshop
  • New IA development
  • Synthesis
  • Usability testing
  • Stakeholder interviews
  • Persona development
  • Prototyping

initial research

Analysis & Research | Archetype Identification

Finding out who the user actually is, as opposed to who we think they are, was the first step in this project. blueegg was able to use existing data sources like Google Analytics to begin teasing out exactly who the audience was for ANSTO. As a result of this analysis blueegg were able to start idenitfying archetypes that would be used as recruitment criteria for user interviews. This allowed us to target the right audience segments to gain the most valuable insights for ANSTO.

Current IA Review & Card Sort

To facilitate the combination of the two websites and to maximise the impact of the new ANSTO website, blueegg also conducted a review of ANSTO’s current IA, accompanied by a card sort. The card sort results helped guide us in how to structure the new ANSTO website to be as beneficial and easy to use as possible.

Stakeholder Interviews & Alignment

Ensuring stakeholder alignment is an important part of our process. We facilitated a workshop with stakeholders, to get an understanding of their needs and goals and then aligning those with our research goals. This ensures that the stakeholders are included early in the design process and sets expectations for what goals are to be met for the project.

user interviews 

Our research plan for the interview looked at finding out insights into how people find information about science and why, reasons why they visit the ANSTO website and how learning about science makes them feel. Our team then began the interviews and for ANSTO, this meant over 25 interviews with staff and members of the public, conducted in 2 separate locations.

What We Learned

The key issues for users focused on navigation, content and understanding. The desire to discover more information is often driven by school projects or holiday activities and Google is the first place users go to search for content. User have a low awareness of scientific concepts and find most of the content on ANSTO difficult to understand.

What They Told Us

“I would probably just do a google search”

“I really want to understand it… but not have to know all the lingo that goes along with it”

“My children love the LEGO robotics in the school holidays”

“I just wanted to understand what it did and what it says so I had a look at the website but I am still none the wiser”


Synthesising the user interviews relied on pattern recognition, and 5 participants of any one persona type was all that was required to establish patterns in the insights they provided us. We identified themes and made recommendations based on the insights generated by the interviews.

Common Themes

Content is mainly being searched for as a result of school projects or for booking an activity during the school holidays

Whilst the site has a lot of content it is difficult to understand

Viewed government, university and Australian sources as more credible

Lack of imagery, explainers and videos led to a sense of being overwhelmed

Participants found the ‘book a tour’ process difficult to complete

Site navigation was seen as difficult by all users

persona development

The insights and patterns from the interviews allowed us to create 4 different persona types of who ANSTO’s audience is. These personas helped guide our design direction and recommendations, and would also be a useful artefact for ANSTO to refer to about their audience base. The personas that were established were:

  1. Parent who wants to take their children on a school holiday tour of ANSTO
  2. Parent who is helping their child with school science projects
  3. Local residents who are interested in the reactor
  4. Local residents who have a general interest in science

Helen Matthews

Mum who takes her kids on school holiday tours of ANSTO

  • Age: 43
  • Job: Human Resources 
  • Family: Married, with 3 kids 
  • Location: Menai, NSW 
  • Personality: Curious

“Every school holidays my son is asking me what’s on at ANSTO”

Her Story

Helen is a busy mum of three children aged between 8-13. She juggles a career in HR with being a full-time mum and always wants to do what’s best for her kids. Her 11 year-old son, Richie, has a very keen interest in science and she’s often doing whatever she can to fulfill that curiosity, whether it’s with books or educational tours. Helen and her family know about ANSTO, as they live close by. The close proximity allows Helen to take Richie on tours of ANSTO every school holidays.

Behaviours & Habits

  • She is very involved with her kids’ studies, often helping them with homework
  • Goes on regular tours at ANSTO with her kids, during school holidays
  • Goes on ANSTO website to get reliable info on science

Needs & Goals

  • Information that is simple & easy to understand, so she can explain to her kids
  • A quick way of finding out what’s on at ANSTO
  • School holiday activities that get her kids’ minds working


  • Not being able to trust the credibility of some science info sources online
  • Info that’s difficult to understand and heavy on technical terms
  • Can’t book events on ANSTO website, she needs to do it on an external site

new I.a development

Now that the main audience for ANSTO had been established and their personas had been developed, blueegg set about developing a new IA for the ANSTO website. Using the card sort results, along with the insights we gathered from user interviews about the current ANSTO website, we engaged with the stakeholders and proposed this new IA.

Findings Workshop

We presented all of our findings in a workshop with stakeholders. blueegg distilled these findings into a detailed research report and high level deck, which also contained now, next and later recommendations for ANSTO to move ahead with the project. We got the client’s feedback on our findings, and after we were all aligned with the recommendations, we moved on to the design phase.

design phase

After alignment of the next steps, blueegg began sketching a new design of the ANSTO website that would incorporate content from The Australian Synchrotron, as well as the now recommendations from our research report. We met regularly with the stakeholders during this stage, conducting co-design workshops to gain their input into the design direction. We also got in touch with ANSTO’s developer resource at this stage, to ensure we were designing a solution that was technically feasible.

Sketches become medium fidelity wireframes, and then they become high fidelity clickable prototypes. At the same time, we created detailed visual designs for ANSTO, along with a style guide and a UI kit to guide the future development of their website.

Homepage — Desktop

Events — Desktop

Usability Testing | Prototyping

The high fidelity clickable prototypes were tested with users who fit in with the audience archetype for ANSTO that we identified through the research. We aimed to validate the new designs and gain insights into behaviour, impressions of the users’ experiences and focus.

We tested three key tasks that were identified as being the most important on the website for the users and for the business.

  1. Book a tour
  2. Download an app
  3. Research the history of ANSTO

The results of the usability testing validated that our new designs were working and were seen as easy to use by the participants. It also brought to light some areas of the new design that needed to be improved on, and this feedback was taken on board for the next iteration and the handover to the development team.


Analysis of key data points, behaviours and patterns across ANSTO’s national site

Content audit facilitated and IA redesigned to improve discoverability and content

Usability testing and flow validation with users

Visual designs/UI treatment developed

Primary user and staff archetypes identified

Sketches and prototypes drawn and co-designed with ANSTO

Key internal and external takeholders of ANSTO engaged

Design handover of assets and sprint support in terms of interactions, research and patterns

Research facilitated, focused on over 45 interviews delivering key insights, identifying behaviours and validating content gaps

about blueegg

blueegg is an experience design agency that places users at the centre of evidenced based user driven insights. We specialise in engagement, facilitation, synthesis, design, prototyping, usability testing and human centred outcomes.

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