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  • Channelling Sherlock Holmes

    Found in Blog / Published 01 May 2013 / By Victoria Wray

    It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.

    A Scandal in Bohemia
    You’ll be glad to hear that we, like Sherlock Holmes, are not going to pick our content for the Beta website with the help of gut instinct or divination. In line with our commitment to being user-centred, we are using evidence of what people want or what needs fixing to give us a first cut of priority services…

  • Google Analytics screencast — Tip #3: An Overview of Event Tracking

    Found in Blog / Published 23 September 2015 / By Nathan Wall

    How to set up event tracking, what sort of things you can record, and tips on where to get the code to get you started.

  • - how we create our content

    Found in Blog / Published 31 January 2014 / By Alison Jack

    It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.

    Mark Twain

    I’m sorry I wrote you such a long letter. I didn’t have time to write you a short one.

    Blaise Pascal
    Making content short, concise and easy to read is hard.

    The content process we’re developing for includes examples of good practice from across government — which is to say that we stole and have reused some of the best processes we could find.

    We’ve previously written about how we designed conte…

  • takes on Citizenship and Authentications

    Found in Blog / Published 16 December 2016 / By Meg Howie

    At the end of October, the team kicked off our latest pilot looking at NZ citizenship and how to get documents authenticated. We’re working with Service Delivery and Operations — part of our family here at the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) — to redesign the content around user needs while shifting it from the DIA website on to

    Understanding the issuesAs always, we began by identifying the problems users have with these services, and the most common things people need…

  • Common Web Platform wins Open Source Award

    Found in Blog / Published 21 November 2014 / By Bene Anderson

    The Common Web Platform (CWP) was the winner in the ‘Open Source Use in Government’ at the 2014 NZ Open Source Awards. I had the honour of accepting the award on behalf of the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA), and took the opportunity to thank DIA and SilverStripe staff. It was great to hear about the people, projects and products from across a range of disciplines sharing their open source code. The setting at Te Marae in Te Papa was beautiful, and we were spoiled with a yummy dinner.


  • A/B/C/D/Evolving the homepage design

    Found in Blog / Published 05 December 2014 / By Nathan Wall

    When launched in July this year we’d already completed several rounds of user research. The design of the site and the layout of the homepage had changed a lot since we launched the first beta version the previous year.

    How users are getting to our homepageAfter several months, we started to see some interesting patterns in our website analytics. A lot of people were searching Google using terms like:

    “new zealand government” (and various alternative versions)
    “nz government website”

  • Content design process

    Found in Standards & guidance / Design and UX / Content design guidance / Content design process

    Planning, researching, writing, testing and managing content that meets your users’ needs.

  • Terms of use

    Found in About / Terms of use

    By viewing and using this site, you agree to these terms of use.

  • Google Analytics screencast — Tip #5: Bounce Rates (High is bad?)

    Found in Blog / Published 28 September 2015 / By Nathan Wall

    A high bounce rate can be bad, but it can also be a sign that the page is doing exactly what you've designed it to do.

  • Are we delivering what people want?

    Found in Blog / Published 15 November 2012 / By Nathan Wall

    Back in September, Victoria Wray, one my colleagues here at Internal Affairs, posted about some of the research we've been doing, talking to other governments in several countries as we setup the project to redevelop This is a post about the next part of the story—talking with real users about what they want.

    No small taskThe scope of is very broad. The challenge ahead of us, to transform the site and make it more user-centred, is no small task. Meeti…

  • A-Z of content design guidance

    Found in Standards & guidance / Design and UX / Content design guidance / A-Z of content design guidance

    An alphabetised list of all topics in the content design guidance.

  • Understanding the benefits of GenAI to the public service

    Found in Standards & guidance / Technology and architecture / Interim Generative AI guidance for the public service / Understanding the benefits of GenAI to the public service

    Learn about the potential benefits of GenAI to the New Zealand public service, use cases and examples of free and paid GenAI tools.

  • Google Analytics screencast — Tip #7: Going With the Flow

    Found in Blog / Published 05 October 2015 / By Nathan Wall

    User flows can sometimes confuse and overwhelm people. Find out easy ways to use them so you can learn about user behaviour on your website.

  • Free code: Event Tracking for Google Analytics

    Found in Blog / Published 23 October 2012 / By Nathan Wall

    Do you use Google Analytics (GA) for tracking visitors to your website? Yes? Then read on. If you don’t currently use GA on your website then this post isn’t going to be relevant for you. But I would then ask, you are using something to track your site’s users aren’t you?

    Note: Throughout this post I just talk about GA, but this script can be used with Urchin too. Also, be warned that this post is aimed at web developers with a technical background.

    What is event tracking?Event tracking is a f…

  • LabPlus: What do design sprints, game design and government have in common?

    Found in Blog / Published 16 April 2018 / By Hazel Bradshaw

    TL;DRAs a member of the Service Innovation team, I recently ran an adaptation of a Google Design Sprint to unpack the requirements for an all of government service analytics solution.

    I specialise in design approaches for the creation of serious games; a serious game being a game designed for a primary purpose other than pure entertainment. (If you want a dive into this field you can access my thesis on Structural Playability for the detail.) Read on if you’re interested in how to run an adapte…

  • Using digital insights to improve the online passport service

    Found in Blog / Published 04 November 2019 / By Sumana Freshwater

    In 2012 DIA launched the Online Passport Service - the first fully online passport renewal service in the world. For the Uptake team at DIA, our work doesn’t end when a service goes live. We monitor our online services to assess how customers are using it and identify opportunities for improvement. Our customers can now apply for their first adult passport, renew a child passport and apply as a group online.

  • First impressions: tackling the homepage bounce rate

    Found in Blog / Published 22 December 2014 / By Victoria Wray

    Recently Nathan wrote about’s high homepage bounce rate. He implemented A/B testing to check our hypothesis that people type ‘NZ government’ into Google and expect to find the Beehive website, not

    He analysed a tsunami of data. Unfortunately, the different layout options, which directed people to the Beehive site, didn't show significant improvement. It looked like the high bounce rate wasn’t caused by layout, but something else.

    Where next?The problem of the high bounce…

  • FYI: Brasil is unlocking the value of government information and data

    Found in Blog / Published 09 July 2015 / By Susan Diamond

    What’s the big deal?Governments around the world released over a million datasets open in the last decade. The aim was to spur the creation of jobs and the realisation of changes in society, including increased government accountability and consumer protection, more transparency in costs to the health system and more resilience against climate change.

    Why is it important?The analysis of these data, if done right, can help policymakers make better decisions, but they are just beginning to explor…

  • Geo-fencing digital advertising

    Found in Showcase

    Maritime NZ’s ‘Virtual Coastwatch’ lifejacket campaign won a gold global award for best use of technology at the international Festival of Media Awards in New York.

  • Web analytics clinics — learning more about what you needed to learn

    Found in Blog / Published 27 July 2015 / By Nathan Wall

    Connecting with a community of digital analystsInterest in applying web analytics to get a better understanding of how users interact with your website is growing. In June this year, I ran a series of web analytics clinics to get a better understanding of what the challenges are for government agencies. I wanted to know what sorts of information they wanted to collect, and I wanted to learn more about the barriers they faced. People from a wide range of agencies attended — 19 agencies in total.…

  • Analytics in government — where we're at

    Found in Blog / Published 03 May 2017 / By Lana Gibson

    In GIS we sent out a survey to see where agencies are with their web analytics capability. We wanted to find out what agencies need to improve their services with user data, and what support could look like.

    We asked about:

    analytics capability and how it’s used to improve government websites
    blockers to using analytics, and solution and support ideas
    demand for the Google Analytics premium account GA360
    interest in public dashboards.
    The results have shown that it’s a real mixed bag, agencies…

  • Built-in security — DNSSEC

    Found in Standards & guidance / Technology and architecture / Government domain names / Manage your domains / Built-in security — DNSSEC

    The DNS service includes enhanced security with Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC) for domains using the government name servers managed by the Department of Internal Affairs.

  • When you assume...

    Found in Blog / Published 18 November 2013 / By Katie Johnston

    We recently completed our first round of user testing since publishing

    We learned a lot. Seeing actual users use your site is always enlightening…and occasionally frustrating. The urge to shake them and yell “it’s right there!” can be strong. Things that seemed so obvious when you did them turn out not to be obvious at all.

    Overall, the testing showed we’re on the right track. There’s still a few things we need to think about, but people were very positive. Task completion went u…

  • Design Overhaul

    Found in Blog / Published 05 February 2015 / By Meg Howie

    In December last year, I and two other designers from Open Lab, Laura Prescott and Finlay Brazier, spent a month reviewing the design and structure of the website. As recent graduates from Massey’s School of Design, and reluctant users of government websites ourselves, we were excited to have a chance to work on a project that could make navigating government much easier for a lot of people.

    The briefOur initial brief was based around the goals of to design and deliver informat…

  • Using Kumu to share our research

    Found in Blog / Published 10 July 2019 / By Matt McCallum

    How the Service Innovation Lab used Kumu to share learnings from their design research.

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