Energy Affordability Training Partnership
- Ellis Jones and Consumer Policy Research Centre
- Community Information & Support Victoria
Electricity and gas prices for Victorian households have increased almost 200% since the deregulation of Victoria’s energy market in 2002.
Research shows that many vulnerable groups including older people, those with limited digital proficiency and low English literacy are unlikely to switch providers and get the best deal. These are often the same groups facing challenges with energy efficiency.
We developed and delivered a human centred design process to co-create materials and resources with case-workers, tasked with coaching the most vulnerable of Victorians on energy consumption and affordability.
We took the innate positive and simple associations of geometry, and ‘building blocks’, along with oversized numerals to help the audience navigate the breadth of available resources, and effectively group thematically aligned or relevant content.
Bright colours, and typography that was formal but had a quirky detail were used liberally, and at scale to connote simplicity, and ensure accessibility through verbal and visual cues.
Illustration and character design for animated content was similarly inspired by simplicity, openness and ‘difference’ from expected government norms. With a subtle undertone of experimental cold war soviet cinema.
EATP training and information resources provided a holistic framework for ER workers to use when providing energy advice to clients. This helped ER workers move beyond simply providing information and towards supporting clients to take practical actions.
Following the training, 88% of ER workers and 92% of Energy Mentors strongly agreed that they had the confidence and ability to support and advise clients on energy affordability. The training was effective at delivering key information about the government energy reform program, and how participants could answer questions that would enable their clients to take advantage of these reforms.
Invested in the future of vulnerable people empowering them with knowledge so that they would be able to make the best possible choice for themselves, creating a market that is accessible and fair. Not only does this allow the consumer to save money but also teaches them how to navigate an often elusive industry.
The architecture and logic of the visual system for resources determined the approach to user experience design for Energy Info Hub, the digital platform developed to house these resources. Motion and interactivity were used in digital applications to ensure personality and provide moments of enjoyment within largely functional user tasks.
User consultation was required by the project sponsors within the Victorian Government. In fact, project launch was contingent on the successful navigation of this process, and learnings and refinements driven by it. We have tested, refined and deployed materials to ensure maximum usability and impact.
While the majority of the target audience did not like to engage with traditional ‘government’ communications, the project was funded and integrated into a suite of measures delivered by government. Much of the design task was reconciling these competing priorities and making it work.