Client: Digital Transformation Agency
Sector: Government

Working with the DTA, Tobias designed, built and tested an alpha prototype which leverages facial emotion recognition algorithms to explore the way individuals might digitally identify themselves to access government services.

Prototyping Testing Storytelling Video


In 2016, Australia Post, in conjunction with The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), estimated the economic value of an accepted digital identity at $11 billion a year.

As part of a strategic Australian Government initiative, exploring digital identity, Tobias was asked to investigate the viability of a web responsive solution for MyGovID, the government digital identity provider.

Sketeches of early prototypes.
Paper prototypes were first tested on participants to identify any issues with the proposed system before any design or development occurred.


Tobias applied an human centred approach to building out the prototypes, building on previous user research, design and technical discovery on the GovPass program, testing in each round to learn quickly from cohorts across Australia.

The prototypes grew in sophistication. From paper in round one, to a fully interactive and responsive interface in round three. By round three our prototyper was also able to incorporate creative and emerging technology for facial recognition and other forms of visual identification to get feedback on how well visual identity methods might work for a range of people across a range of devices. Taking this approach we were able to identify barriers to adoption early in the project lifecycle. Each round increased both the desirability factor and usability of the ID process.

To ensure all obstacles and risks were surfaced early, we collaborated with stakeholders across the DTA, ATO and DHS and set up regular cycles of communication including standups, showcases and project status meetings every week to create an open space for feedback and learning.

Early HTML prototype.
An HTML prototype was developed in future iterations to test gestures, facial recognition and study how humans behaved in different contexts.
"The explainer video added the benefit of demonstrating and easily articulating the benefits of the design" LISA JANSEN, Service Design Lead, Digital Transformation Agency

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We tested with a broad cohort including those with English as a second language.


Tobias successfully created a proof of concept that scored highly in usability testing for efficiency and effectiveness. Consulting with consumers gave certainty around how the service would be received and perform. In addition, we investigated browser-based technologies for the application and using the evidence acquired in analytics and customer testing recommended the best way to proceed.

Given the complex nature of the problem and distributed stakeholders across government agencies, we produced an explainer video to help communicate our product vision and recommendations in a concise and consistent way to inform decisions around the program roadmap.

The responsive design and build approach by Tobias is now being used by the Australian Tax Office to roll out its digital identification program.

Prototyping Testing Storytelling Video