Starting a new conversation
about aged care
Liquid Interactive was appointed as the supplier for the build and operation of the new My Aged Care website, an Australian Government initiative managed by the Department of Health. This story provides insight into the project we've released so far. There's a lot more to come and will be rolled out over time.
We're all living longer but that doesn't mean we are finding it any easier to talk about the care we might need in our later years. But if we are to enjoy healthy, happy lives well into our 80's or 90's perhaps we need a new, more constructive, way of looking at aged care?
That's the challenge we have recently been tackling for My Aged Care, the Australian Government's aged care gateway.
My Aged Care is the Australian Government's entry point to access aged care information and government-funded aged care services for older Australians, their families and carers.
Why we need to talk
With over 4 million Australians now over 65 and expected to live into their 80's, there are more people needing aged care than ever before.
Yet many prefer to struggle on independently for as long as possible rather than seek help. It's understandable and deeply entrenched in the human psyche. No-one wants to lose their independence. We fear not being in control and making our own decisions.
Added to that there are many stigmas around aged care and media reports of poor care and abuse have further affected people’s views. These stigmas need to broken so that people feel empowered to access the care they need.
The good news is that there is already a wide range of support services aimed at helping people live independently for as long as possible. Everything from subsidised travel for getting to doctor's appointments, to help with housework if you're dealing with an injury.
The challenge is that it's complicated. With over 2000 aged care service providers all providing different services with different fees. How do you know what's best?
It's a complex problem and just the sort we like to work on.
So how do we start to change the conversation? The first step is to get better informed.
Our research showed that Senior Australians and their families were worried and overwhelmed. It's all too hard. If we were going to change attitudes, then we needed to start by equipping seniors to make informed choices about what's best for them.
We needed to turn complexity into simplicity. We needed to guide people who might arrive with misconceptions about what kinds of care are available and introduce them to options that better suit their needs. If we could pull it off, it would be a win-win for them, their family, the service providers, and the government.
Creating an engaging experience
By developing a deep understanding of their journey, needs and pain points we identified two key points where they wanted information to make informed decisions: starting out and choosing a provider. Using a human centred design approach, these became our focus.
The first priority was developing the right tone. To resonate and encourage action, it needed clarity and empathy in equal measure. Through customer testing we developed a finely nuanced tone that conveyed active not passive, informative not overwhelming, support not loss of control, real not glossy and understanding not sympathy.
Feedback from our customers told us when we had the balance right:
"Loss of independence is not something any of us want. This site says we are here to help with what's right for you."
"General look and feel is softer, nice and clear. Good large print. Less government feel (more approachable, not so daunting)."
Pace and structure was the next critical element. To make this complex environment and process easier to understand we crafted a subtle, supportive online experience that guides customers through the process and answers their questions as they arise.
"It's really good, it's very clear and it's sequentially answering the things that are coming up in my head."
Focus on what customers need
Only when we understood our customer's needs, expectations and behaviours the new website's navigation, design, functionality and content was designed and built. This means the customer experience is consistent across the site. New concepts, solutions and features were iteratively developed, tested and refined with customers across Australia as well as Government and industry stakeholders.
The result is a site that looks so simple. And that's its beauty. No flashy design or clever new technologies. Just an experience that delivers what's needed to help more Australians take action.
It's early days. The new site was launched in June 2019 but we can already see small changes in the conversation.
"I am sure I would find all the information that I would need in the future, so I felt relieved."
"It was a struggle finding care for mum, this would have made it so much easier for us."
"These tools will save me a lot of time and energy."
A process of iterative improvement
We're now continuing to work on the next stages of the strategy which includes a number of new features and enhancements to improve the platform experience for all users, and help more Australians live happy healthy lives into their old age.