VAGO Digital Report Design

Victorian Auditor General’s Office

We worked with the Victorian Auditor-General’s Office to reimagine the way their audit reports could be presented digitally, to align with their digital-first vision for the future.

The brief

The Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) is responsible for overseeing the performance and management of Victoria’s public sector resources. As part of their remit, they produce a number of audit reports each year, which include findings and recommendations about how public services and infrastructure can be improved.

Historically, these reports have been written and published in print format, with digital publication being more of an afterthought. Going forward, VAGO wanted to place greater emphasis on the digital presentation of their reports, adopting a new visual style that was designed with web-based reading in mind.

We worked with VAGO to explore a range of content design and data visualisation solutions in order to create a report concept for the future.

What we did

Understanding context

To kick off the project, we ran vision and discovery workshops with key stakeholders from within VAGO’s executive, publishing teams, and data science teams. In these workshops, we explored the pain points and gain points of VAGO’s current audit reports, using the recent ‘Kinship Care’ report as a base. This workshop allowed us to gather feedback from all stakeholders about what they most wanted to change, what they wanted to keep, and any design ideas they may have thought of. We then talked through the team’s hopes and fears for the project to better understand any internal or external challenges we might face, and defined a set of success metrics to guide our work throughout the project lifecycle.

We also used these workshops as an opportunity to learn more about each of VAGO’s target audiences, including their goals in reading the reports, their key characteristics, and what action VAGO wanted them to take after reading the reports.

Finally, we conducted a technical workshop to understand the current state of play with VAGO’s digital platforms and processes. Although the scope of our project was limited to design and would not include any development work, it was important for us to understand the internal capability at VAGO, as well as any technical constraints their digital teams may have been working with. These discussions gave us deeper insight into how the current report design came about, and helped us to frame our recommendations to provide greater utility to VAGO, concentrating not only on what needed to be done to improve the design, but also how they could go about achieving it.

Data-led design recommendations

To gain a better understanding of how the existing reports were performing, we conducted a review of VAGO’s Google Analytics and MS Clarity insights. Through this review, we were able to identify common drop-off points, trends in user behaviour, and areas for improvement. We used analytics to get a sense of the performance of VAGO’s reports more generally, which then gave us a benchmark against which to compare the results of the Kinship Care report specifically. Looking at clickmaps and screen recordings also helped us identify popular links and sections of the report, which went on to inform our decisions about content hierarchy during the design phase.

We also performed a content, UX, and accessibility audit of the current report structure, identifying opportunities for VAGO to exceed its accessibility commitments, improve the readability of its content, and delight users through smart and intuitive UX choices.

Finally, we conducted a review of data visualisations being used in the current report structure, and compared these against leading data storytelling examples across the audit and digital publishing industries. Through this review, we were able to identify a number of areas of focus for VAGO’s data visualisations going forward, including creating a compelling data narrative and promoting interactivity and engagement.

How we did it

Design concepts and content design

Using the insights gained from the analytics, content, and UX reviews, we identified a number of key changes we could make to the Kinship Care report to improve its performance. To begin with, we created two design concepts using snippets from the report. These concepts explored different functionalities, design treatments, and colour palettes. We then presented these concepts to VAGO as a temperature check, and used their feedback to narrow our design choices down into a single concept incorporating the team’s preferred treatments and functionalities.

Throughout this period, our Content Designers and UI Designers worked closely to iterate the design of various elements of the report, tweaking the layout, expression, and hierarchy of different sections to ensure they met best practice UX and accessibility standards, and adhered to key content design principles

Validation through usability testing

To determine how well the design concepts were meeting user needs, we conducted usability testing with six participants from across VAGO’s audience segments. These half hour sessions comprised a guided discussion of the report structure, with a focus on uncovering the participants’ comprehension of and reactions to the layout, functionality, and content of the report.

Through this testing exercise, we were able to validate a number of our key changes, including the presentation of data visualisations, the inclusion of a jump links menu for navigation, and the addition of a ‘Key recommendations’ summary at the beginning of the report. We were also able to identify new areas for improvement, in particular, the presentation of the relationship between key statistics and broader findings, the format of metadata at the beginning of the report, and the wording of the research question.

We then took these findings into the final report design, rolling out all our validated changes to the full length of the report.


The new report design creates a more condensed, more scannable reading experience, and gives users greater control over how they navigate through the content. The results of this project will allow VAGO to plan their future digital projects around the implementation of these new streamlined reports, while the research and best practice reviews we conducted will further their understanding of their audiences and how best to communicate with them.

This project was really challenging, given how dense the content was, but the collaboration throughout both internally and externally with the client made the whole process really rewarding. The client was thoroughly engaged throughout the whole design process, with many stakeholders inputting valuable feedback which in-turn helped us to arrive at a really strong final prototype.  Alex Turnbull - Senior UI Designer, Tundra

Let's work together

Get in touch