Care of Children

Ministry of Justice, New Zealand

Design System


The Ministry of Justice engaged AKQA NZ to revamp the Care of Children (CoC) subsection of their website. Following a thorough review of the client's brief and the assimilation of over six months' worth of internal research and testing, three primary objectives were identified: Enhance navigation, wayfinding, and accessibility of CoC information and resources; empower children, parents, and whānau (extended family and friends) to take informed action; and foster greater engagement and participation in the justice system, particularly in CoC matters. The ultimate aim was to alleviate stress and anxiety for parents and whānau navigating this section, recognising that many of these users might be going through a crisis.

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The Idea

After a comprehensive review of the client's pre-research, I collaborated with the team to conduct further analysis, user research, and landscape analysis, paving the way for well-founded recommendations. This culminated in the formulation of four guiding design principles: “Show me the way or be my guide”, “Help me understand”, “Make me feel supported”, and “Make me feel included.” These principles served as a guiding light during the initial wireframe and information architecture development. The final designs breathe life into these principles through a revamped IA and navigation structure, elevating key pages for more efficient wayfinding. Subsections and labels were reconfigured to be more inclusive of users with diverse family structures. A user-friendly landing page was crafted, enabling quick navigation for returning users and offering a guided path for first-time visitors through a 'Where to Start' page. Repetitive elements and thoughtful use of negative space were employed to enhance information scannability, while the inclusion of quick exit and mental well-being components aimed to promote user comfort.

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My role

I was engaged in this project from inception to its conclusion. In the initial phase, I conducted a landscape analysis and delved into user experience considerations for individuals potentially facing crises. Following collaboration with colleagues in strategy and UX, I crafted the four key design principles before meticulously creating wireframes for presentation to Ministry stakeholders. Subsequently, I undertook the design of the system and the UI design of page templates. I oversaw the development process while maintaining close collaboration with the Ministry's project team to ensure alignment with their objectives throughout the design journey.

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