Tax compliance using ato.gov.au by Australian taxpayers and tax professionals needed improving. Previous research revealed that most taxpayers are confident they have the information they need to lodge their returns, yet they get it wrong. Our challenge was to understand the challenges faced by users of the ATO website. We sought to identify:
– how people with a broad range of literacy skills and tax currently use, find and understand content on the website
– what other information or tools are used by taxpayers to complete and lodge their tax returns
– how content can be improved so that it is understood by a vast and diverse audience
– how the the user experience of the website can be improved.
Up front we co-designed quantitative and qualitative research plans with the ATO project team and key stakeholders.
Eight separate online true intent studies and surveys based on tax payer audience profiles e.g first time tax lodgers, rental property owners etc were developed. 200 participants across the different profiles were recruited for the online remote study and 45 participants for the moderated face-to-face study.
Other research activities included an online Loop11 study for both face-to-face and remote participants, and one-on-one, two-hour in-depth interviews with 40 individual taxpayer participants and 5 tax agents.
All findings were collated and analysed into a comprehensive research report with recommendations.
Our detailed and comprehensive report provided a road map to improve the experience of a diverse user group attempting to prepare and lodge a tax return.
We achieved this by:
– developing detailed user journey maps of user experience when preparing and lodging a return for each audience profile
– clearly identifying how to improve findability and comprehension of content including how to improve SEO and what content formats to develop
– identifying how tax agents’ use the Individual section of the website and content requirements as they relate to helping individuals.