Tourism Australia has relaunched claiming a “cleaner design, simpler navigation and additional functionality”. There will be debate in Australia over  these claims, especially “cleaner design”. To a local eye it looks messy due to the new site background – distracting full-screen images of Australia. But the site,which receives up to 800,000 unique visitors a month, was not built for Australians and never tested in this market.

That’s because Australians travelling in Australia are not seen as a key a target market by Tourism Australia: “The changes to the site – designed and built by Deloitte – follow extensive customer testing and feedback sessions involving 300 consumers in six of  Tourism Australia’s key international markets – China, Germany, Japan, South Korea, the UK and US.”

Tourism Australia says features of the new site include:

Brighter look – new photography incorporated into the background of the site, which displays iconic images of every Australian state and territory, and which update each time the website is refreshed;

Easier to use – simplified navigation to access and showcase content more easily. A new ‘mega’ menu on the homepage allows users to quickly view what is in each area of the site, and reduce the amount of clicks required to get the specific information they want. Users can also easily scroll, carousel style, through a range of things to do and see in Australia;

Maps – a new mini map feature has been added to the homepage, highlighting some of the very best nothing like Australia experiences, as recommended by locals who have already travelled there;

Better integration with social media – social media icons are prominently displayed, allowing users to share content with their social networks, starting with Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Other platforms including Sina, Orkut, QQ, Delicious and Hyves will be added soon;

News – a new ‘News’ panel has created, located prominently on the homepage, to direct users to latest updates. This includes video capabilities to showcase Tourism Australia’s increasing array of digital activities and campaigns;

Tailored content – the site’s 360 pages of content is available in 17 languages with additional tailored content by market to better reflect local preferences.”

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