A man and a woman at a NSW Vivid festival light exhibit

Destination NSW: Selling the Premier State

A world-leading, one-stop-shop for all B2B NSW tourism information and resources, helping those involved in the visitor economy manage their travel operations easily and efficiently, while also driving awareness of the actions of the Destination NSW brand.


Destination NSW is the state’s lead government agency for tourism and major events. With a target of $65 billion of total visitor expenditure in NSW by 2030, it’s imperative that they empower tourism businesses with all the information and tools they need to help ‘Sell NSW’. In a huge project spanning several years, we worked with the government agency to redefine their B2B platform, creating a fast, intuitive central repository of resources, built on a flexible, headless stack.


Brand RefreshUser ResearchUser ExperienceUser TestingUI DesignTechnology ConsultingFullstack Engineering


2024 Webby Honoree, Websites and Mobile Sites, Government & Associations

DestinationNSW homepage seen on a tablet


The existing B2B site was a rabbit warren of broken links and cobbled together pages on a clunky WordPress framework. It rarely surfaced the right content to users, even when they knew the site well, such as internal DNSW staff. For an outsider, it was totally bemusing.

It needed a total overhaul to ensure it was a best-in-class resource platform for all those working in the tourism sector. It also needed to comply with strict security mandates, and the Destination NSW corporate style guide - while still eliciting the wonder and excitement of travel.

Our goals were to reduce the number of clicks to find specific information, thus reducing the enquiries and calls to DNSW. We also wanted to improve the discoverability of content, as the platform is host to hundreds of invaluable guides, tutorials, and information packs a user might never think to search.

A woman lying in the water


We conducted in-depth, one on one research interviews with the various target audiences - destination marketers, small businesses, event organisers, tour operators, travel agents, and other government agencies.

These conversations confirmed information was hard to find ‘for outsiders’, search experience was poor, and the IA was confusing. The design also felt very corporate and at odds with the Destination NSW consumer sites, Sydney.com and VisitNSW.com. The resources they needed were mostly there, just hidden in the current architecture and slow to load on the current stack.

DestinationNSW desktop screen designs

A Smarter Interface

Based on this research, we focussed on re-imagining the navigation and information architecture. We used card sorting to help categorise the information in a way that was more aligned with the expectations of site visitors, and also helped us to condense a large amount of duplicate content. Knowing that a key target audience is small businesses owners and operators, ‘Business Support’ was prioritised as a key bucket of information. Quick links at the top of every parent-level page give fast access to the most visited pages and remove the need for pointless scrolling.

The hamburger nav progressively reveals more options to users as they select each menu item, so as to keep focus and not overwhelm with the large amount of resources available. An ever-present search bar prompts the user if they haven’t found what they’re looking for, and a keyboard shortcut also pulls out the search drawer, with pre-populated suggested searches, controlled in the CMS to allow content editors to highlight and suggest popular or relevant content.

Long article pages trigger a smart UI system that allows the user to see the full page's content at a glance, and jump to certain sections - giving them the option to skip down the page if they are time poor (as we heard that all users are in our interviews!)

With newsletters a vital part of how many of tourism operators and destination marketers keep up to date, we created a universal sign up, where the user can simply tick which newsletter they’d like to subscribe to, be it product updates, insights or story ideas for journalists. These appear in a slide-out module to the left, rather than taking over the whole screen.

DestinationNSW digital platform powerful search
DestinationNSW search UI overlaid on an ocean landscape image
DestinationNSW mobile design system

An accessible and adaptive design system

With thousands of users with different technical ability and accessibility needs, the platform needed to cater to all. Spring-boarding from the NSW Government Digital Design system, we crafted a visual design that balances the stunning content with the information needed on the information-rich platform.

With WCAG 2.1 Level AA accessibility a mandate, we focussed on developing a flexible design system that is modern, intuitive and highly accessible at its core, whilst utilising brand-required elements including logo lockup, typography, colour, and iconography.

DestinationNSW design screens
DestinationNSW digital platform button design system
DestinationNSW tile design system for grants

A refreshed approach to the typographic system underpins the new design, allowing us to create a truly flexible and cohesive modular component system. This modular approach helped to bring clarity and stronger signposting to the design, creating a more intuitive experience across a complex ecosystem.

Colour also played a hugely important role in the system, and given the wide variety of colours available in the supplied NSW Government Digital Design system, we knew it was important that the platform felt familiar yet distinctive. With this in mind, we opted to use colour with purpose; leveraging the primary blue palette for moments of interaction and contrast, helping to guide the user throughout the experience.

The new design system successfully balances form and function, accommodating a complex ecosystem and positioning DNSW as the industry leader they are.

DestinationNSW tablet design
DestinationNSW digital platform mobile menu
DestinationNSW digital colour palette

A flexible and secure stack

One of the biggest issues for the Destination NSW content editors was dealing with a clunky back end which had been patched together over the years and was near impossible to manage or track leads. We worked closely with Destination NSW’s IT team to migrate the platform to a more modern, headless stack, while still complying with strict government security mandates. The headless approach provides total flexibility for content editors, enabling them to cater for any future needs, as the remit of the platform expands with more DNSW initiatives.

Through a combination of well articulated IA, accessible design and a modern tech stack, we created a credible, curated knowledge centre for those in the visitor economy. By giving the users total control in terms of searching and navigation, and surfacing key highlights, the new platform decreases time spent searching, and gives more time back to building their businesses and showcasing NSW’s bountiful offering, increasing tourism and boosting the state economy.

DestinationNSW grant page design system
“The new corporate website, designed to provide an engaging user experience, improved search functionalities and mobile responsiveness, positions Destination NSW to be adaptable and forward-thinking during the momentum phase of the Visitor Economy Strategy 2030 and in turn ensure NSW achieves its targets and goals for visit expenditure.”
Steve Cox, CEO, Destination NSW

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