How we delivered a real-time fault notification and reporting experience

  • Business case development & strategy lead
  • Journey mapping
  • User requirements documentation
  • Workshop facilitation
  • User research and testing
  • Prototyping
  • Form UX

Timing: 2014 – 2016

The Challenge

Improving communication to customers when something went wrong was a key part of SA Water’s Digital Strategy. Customer research showed that this was an ongoing area of concern and something they wanted us to improve on. At the time that I initiated this project the ability to provide real-time alerts was constrained by an old website that needed to be redeveloped and a significant number of legacy systems that didn’t talk effectively to each other. I developed a strategy that would allow us to evolve the service from a minimum viable product (MVP) that was manually inputted to the largely automated service you see on the SA Water website ( today.

Service Design Goal (from the Digital Strategy)

My role and approach

As Manager, Digital Strategy, I led the discovery and strategic design phase of this project before handing over to the delivery team in late 2015. My role included:

  • Developing the business case to secure funding for the project which was submitted to the economic regulator, Minister and SA Water leadership team.
  • Mapping stakeholders and users
  • Capturing user requirements and insights
  • Human centred design and service design capacity building with the project team
  • Delivering and testing phase 1 prototypes and MVP as part of the website redevelopment project.

The MVP included covered three components:

  • Automated, real-time twitter notifications for bursts, leaks and outages
  • New online forms for reporting leaking meters
  • A new, real-time notification services for serious leaks, faults and outages on the website

After that, we evolved the service to include additional online forms, increased automation as back-end systems were integrated and enhance updates for specific milestones.

Engagement during the early design phase
Images shows four people looking at butcher's paper stuck to wall in a workshop
Facilitating a design workshop to identify design principles for the new services
New website notification service
New online form for reporting a leaking meter

Impact and value

Our initial targets for customer migration to the new fault reporting and notification services were exceeded in the first six months after launch. Take up of online forms for reporting leaking meters was the most successful of these services with 35% of all reports coming from the website after 6 months.