Shift has evolved.

Shift Auckland is now Digital Arts Network.

Read the Media Release

MyMSD Protoype

Through lean co-design techniques, we prototyped and validated a new service for WINZ clients.

  • Team members worked directly with WINZ clients to understand needs, and generate solutions.
  • An interactive prototype was developed and tested over three rounds with WINZ clients.

The Ministry of Social Development (MSD) has a multi-year initiative to enable more self-management – and a greater sense of control – for clients.

We worked with job-seeking kiwis to explore, prototype and validate a new mobile-first self-service tool for WINZ clients; and to transform how MSD develops new services.

Agenda for transformation

MSD’s brief stated two key outcomes:

  • External transformation: define a vision for a self-service tool for mobile that MSD’s clients will want to use.
  • Internal transformation: to become more user-centred, enabling deeper engagement and co-creation with clients.

MSD sought a new experience for clients, but also a new experience for their team: collaborative, iterative, co-creative. They chose Work and Income (WINZ) as a test bed for this approach.

Digital Arts collaborated with MSD, Deloitte and WINZ clients to co-design a “Magic Pocket Tool” for those clients. This was then iteratively prototyped and evaluated with users.

From the beginning, Digital Arts Network focused on coaching and skills transfer to the MSD team, enabling them to own both the user-centred design process, and the resulting strategy. And setting their team up for long-term success.

Co-design with clients

The project focused on the mobile channel, so participants were selected based on multiple criteria to ensure they would be well positioned to benefit from this service: working-age WINZ clients, who are already transacting (with banks, etc) online.

DAN led co-design workshops to understand WINZ client context, map existing service experiences, understand style and tone preferences, and establish functional priorities.

The ultimate activity in these workshops was a collaborative design activity in which pairs (a WINZ client and a project team member) developed a paper prototype of a “Magic Tool” that enabled clients to manage their relationship with WINZ on their mobile. The workshops ended with each duo presenting their design, and talking about their experience of receiving a benefit. Participants powerfully communicated both the challenges of service delivery, and the hope for the future state.

Prototyping a future vision

Following synthesis and prioritisation of the workshoped concepts, DAN lead a prototyping and testing process.

Working closely with MSD, we conducted three rounds of user testing of an Axure-based mobile prototype. Each round tested with 8 users for short periods, to maximise participant diversity. We started with a simple prototype, and added fidelity as we proceeded. The MSD and DAN team observed testing together, collaborating to synthesise notes into prioritised fixes and features for the next round. In later rounds of testing, we increased the diversity of participants (eg: recently arrived refugees; long-term clients; people with less access to recent technology) to further stress-test the design and content.

The result was both a validated proof-of-concept design, and an organisation with new capability and confidence in User Centred Design.

Note: DAN developed this conceptual prototype – not the full MyMSD service that followed.


Actually having MSD people involved, and stakeholders see, hear and experience the process – helping clients share their voice, thoughts and feelings – has been so valuable. It raised a level of passion about the initiative and now we have more people advocating for better client experience taking this back to their teams to share.

Julia McConnell, MSD

Learn more

Hear Julia McConnell from MSD and Miriam Walker from Digital Arts talk about this project on Karen McGrane and Ethan Marcotte's Responsive Web Design Podcast.