Message Stick 2.0


  • PCYC Queensland
  • Appscore


A Message Stick is a traditional form of graphic communication used by Indigenous Australians to carry messages on long journeys. Inspired by this custom, Message Stick 2.0 uses visual iconography to connect diverse indigenous communities speaking different dialects with the Police-Citizens Youth Clubs Queensland (PCYC).

PCYC Queensland is a trusted and respected not-for-profit with the mission to build safer and healthier communities. In partnership with the Queensland Government, they’re supporting tens of thousands of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people to participate in sport and active recreation activities in each community they work in.

Key Features


Initially, Appscore ran a Design Sprint Discovery Workshop with PCYC Queensland. Having identified the need to be able to communicate visually, we then built a series of prototypes and tested them with their staff. This resulted in an easy-to-use mobile app that could be navigated entirely with visual elements.

We collected data with the mobile-specific web application, which was then visualised within the dashboard. These insights empowered PCYC Queensland to increase the engagement of their grass-roots programs. In addition, we created a feature that let staff share their success stories and inspire the entire organisation.


With 95% of programs running in low socio-economic areas, PCYC Queensland is reaching tens of thousands of at-risk youths. Improving communications with the staff and volunteers working within their own communities, Message Stick 2.0 underpins PCYC Queensland’s grass-root service model. While the app was designed for the Indigenous Community Sport and Recreation Program, it is currently being expanded to support other youth programs.

As a trusted not-for-profit, PCYC Queensland must carefully manage administration expenses. They have already achieved an 80% reduction in time to complete tasks and a 60% cost reduction over the previous system. Those savings are reinvested into community programs.


While graphics have been used as communications aids in modern technology, we’ve proven that visual elements and iconography are effective standalone communication tools. Furthermore, we’ve shown that a purely visual app can generate sufficiently detailed data to generate valuable business insights.

This app will have a profound impact globally. Beyond providing a proven roadmap to overcome language barriers and improve community engagement, it provides a new way for diverse cultures and communities to connect.

The collaboration between Appscore and PCYC Queensland demonstrates Victoria’s design leadership and Queensland’s positive social impact, whilst paying homage to an innovative custom of Australia’s indigenous communities.


Message Stick 2.0 connects PCYC Queensland with indigenous communities in metropolitan, regional, and remote locations. The challenges were around the capacity of staff with varying levels of literacy and numeracy. Message Stick 2.0 is so powerful as it communicates entirely through visual elements and iconography.

PCYC Queensland is no longer constrained by language barriers. They can collect surveys, photos, and ideas from local staff. However, the most profound innovation was a news feed where local staff can share inspiring success stories. Much like the traditional message sticks, it has created a network of local leaders across the state.

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