Immigration New Zealand

Designing one website to meet specific personal needs, but for hundreds and thousands of users

Research, UX, strategy


Immigration New Zealand needed a website redevelopment but identifying critical user pain points proved a challenge for them. I lead the discovery research to help uncover these issues and produce an output that could communicate that to all areas of the business and the project team.

Problem statement

How might we design one application journey to serve thousands of users with complex and personal needs?


My research tasks spanned over the first two phases of the project; Discovery and Define


  • Conduct gap analysis and stakeholder research to identify website audiences and known pain points
  • Carry out user interviews with primary audiences
  • Synthesis the new findings and use it to validate existing research
  • Provide recommendations to focus and direct the website redesign


  • Refine and prioritise the key audiences
  • Design experience maps to understand general behaviour and actions that most users will carry out
  • Design user flows to map the ideal sequence of tasks carried out on the website
  • Collaborate across design, content and technology disciplines to identify design opportunities to combat current pain points

Findings from the research surfaced similar pain points across multiple user profiles. This became useful for creating recommendations for a design strategy that will service the primary audiences, as well most users.

Varying levels of information depth don’t follow the user journey

User information needs evolve throughout the visa exploration journey, but the website fails to align with their specific stage.

User expectations for support are misaligned

Users seeking to come to New Zealand have diverse reasons, leading to an expectation of personalized and specific information.

Content lacks tone of voice to support the user

Simply providing excessive information in response to user requests for detail can lead to confusion and overwhelm.

How do we balance the complexity of a technical application and the specific needs of each user, with the need to create an intuitive, easy and supportive experience for everyone?

Other challenges

Due to the complexities of the goals that the users are trying to complete on the website, such as applying for a visa, there are various other resources and platforms that users are utilising that are outside of our control. This was important to identify as they still affected the users journey on the website, even though they were external.


I designed Experience Maps and User Flows for four key users to visualise their journeys. These were then used as a tool for the designers to understand pain points and create digital solutions.

Experience maps and user flows

These artifacts highlight where pain points are present in the current journey and where we had design, content and technology opportunities to improve them. The were crucial in the ideation of the visa selection tool as we could identify where the tool needed to support users the most.

Lo-fi designs

The visa selection tool had a desktop and mobile version, however we designed mobile first as GA4 showed 73% of users accessing the website via mobile, likely due to device access in certain overseas countries.

Creating lo-fi designs against our experience maps was a crucial step for our tech team as the technology behind the tool was incredibly complicated and they needed to know from and early stage what was going to be required from the front-end and back-end team

Next project: Environmental Protection Agency