Redesign special licence page for Wellington City Council

Print / Layout design
Information design
Wellington City Council

Re-designing a conceptual special licence web page for people who sell or supply alcohol at events.


Are you planning an event that sells or supplies alcohol? Then you need to apply for a special alcohol licence to obtain to Wellington City Council.
WCC looks at ways to improve the information and application process to ensure that online applications are submitted correctly, and applicants experience good customer service.


WCC internal staff identified that they receive poor quality applications through the errors people make on their applications and through research with service users.
This project addresses the following questions:
What are the pain points from a customer’s point of view?
What can be improved in the current state?
What could the future state look like?

My role

This four-week project is assigned to four students, including myself.
Each member participated in all activities, and my focus was to facilitate user interviews and low-fidelity prototype design for usability testing.
Tools: Figma, Google slides, Miro, Otter
Skill needed: Desk research, User Interviews, Facilitation, Presentation, Usability testings, Wire-framing, Prototyping, Information design
This project was a part of UX master courses to solve the real problem Wellington City Council had


How might we improve the special licence application process for customers to help reduce the number of inadequate applications received by Wellington City Council?

Design process

Initial desk research & Content audit

To understand the pain points of applying for special licences, we needed to understand what a special licence was first. We had initial desk research of
Alcohol licensing in New Zealand and what legislation requires
Special licences on other NZ council websites
Alcohol management in general
We also conducted a content audit of the special licence information on WCC’s website and the application forms. Through that process, we could better understand the information applicants needed to provide during the application process and where applicants might struggle.
As part of this exercise we also created flowcharts of the application form to understand where options existed depending on selected answers.
WCC Flowcharts.jpg

User interviews

We conducted six semi-structured interviews to learn more about people’s experiences with the application process.
User interview questionnaire
The greatest difficulty first-time participants experienced was around pre-application information. It lacked clarity, and the amount of information was overwhelming. However, all information was required to display.
We concluded that we would focus on finding the optimum layout design to best display the pre-application information to understand it more straightforward.

Concepts & Usability Testing

We created three design concepts using the same information but presented them differently to test with users and gather feedback on which layout people found the easiest to follow.
We used a comparative usability testing method with nine people of different age ranges. We presented three ideas in order, asked questions about their overall understanding and attracting. We purposely changed the order of those ideas to avoid first impression bias.
Idea A, B and C from the left

High Fidelity Prototype

Through usability testing, Concept A (visual storyboard) and Concept C (vertical flow) were the easiest. Concept B (journey map) was the least popular, although some commented that they liked the arrows. Having two concepts equally preferable, we considered some other points in making our final choice.
Are we allowing for more complex information to be displayed?
Be a better viewing experience on different devices, including mobile phones?
Does least affect the loading time of web pages?
Be better suited for the type of information?
Be better suited for a wider audience?
Considering these points, we chose concept C, which provided a better fit and more flexibility for the special licence content.

The solution (Before & After)

Left – current Page | Right – proposal page design


Many informative websites have similar problems when users must get informed with a large amount of content. This project has taught me about how content design makes users get lazy and give up the process. The user testing result was interesting; content with graphics is always popular but not always the best solution for displaying information. It should be considered technical side whether it would be feasible in any condition.
My suggestion for this project would be to measure the page's engagement rates and monitor the submitted applications' quality so we can recognise the improvements in decreasing the customer support time of the council's staff.