Australian Veterinary Association

A UX research & recommendations project for the AVA members site


The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) is the leading professional organisation that represents veterinarians across Australia. The AVA reached out to Digital Garden for assistance and expertise in conducting in-depth user research in regards to their website for a future redesign. The AVA wanted our help to dig deep and learn about the desires, needs and experience users, non-users and stakeholders are having with the current website.

For the AVA the broad objectives of the user research (phase 1) project was to:

  • Identify the common problems the current AVA website faces

  • Understand the key tasks target users expect from the website

  • Understand the pain points experienced by target audience

  • Understand what should be

  • Produce a vision to set the scene for the next phase of the project

The goals and objectives of the new website distilled from our user research findings include the following:

  • Enhance perception of the ‘AVA’ brand

  • Increase awareness about the Veterinary profession

  • Customer acquisition, retention, engagement, loyalty

  • Extend reach through increased accessibility

  • Revisit content strategy

  • Deliver a richer experience with Lean UX

  • Be future friendly with a scalable platform


A user research project for the current complex AVA website and the high volumes of users across Australia required in-depth fact and problem finding through the implementation of various research methodologies with members, non-members and key stakeholders. The research activities deployed included:

Online surveys completed by:

  • 50+ AVA stakeholders
  • 450+ AVA members
  • 225+ non AVA members

These online surveys were conducted via Google Forms. During the research period, users that went to the AVA website would be greeted with a pop of the online survey, they had an option to fill it out or skip it. Surprisingly the numbers of responses was quite high and reached the ideal response rate of each target audience we aimed to get at the beginning of the project. Using Google Forms was not only a good tool for online use but for summarising and compiling all responses in various forms such as spreadsheets and visual graphs.

Face-to-face interviews completed by:

  • 13 AVA key stakeholders
  • 60+ AVA members

Face to face interviews were conducted to get more detailed responses from members and key stakeholders of the AVA. Digital Garden conducted face to face interviews with the key AVA stakeholders at their headquarters whilst the AVA Champion attended numerous AVA events and interviewed members about the current website, what they would like from a new site and what they thought about a mobile app or mobile website. This is where the meat of our key findings came from.

Google Analytics / stats / data mining

We conducted an in-depth analysis of the existing AVA website to gain a better understanding on the usage, top pages/sections, user agents, device widths, trends and so forth. Going through AVA’s Google analytics we were able to identify the behaviours and interactions a user has with the AVA website. These findings help lead the way for the AVA strategies for the redesign and development of the website.

Benchmarking / competitor research

We conducted detailed competitor research of features, functionality and non-functional elements such as look - feel, designs, the iconography of key competitors and industry leaders. We were able to create a website feature set for the redesign and development of the AVA website, identifying common patterns amongst the various competitor websites. 


From all the data and information Digital Garden and the AVA collected during the entire research process, we were able to draft up a user research document for the AVA to present to their board of directors. This document outlined the common problems users face on the current site, the research methodologies implemented, summaries of all the key findings and some proposed next steps that the AVA could consider on their website redesign journey.

Constant communication and collaboration on this project with the AVA, Digital Garden has not only produced a well-written and detailed user research document but we have also created a strong and supportive relationship between the parties involved. 

AVA had the new website designed and developed by an agency onto Episerver, which launched in 2019. Digital Garden's discovery work served as a strong foundation for this redesign and rebuild.