18 Apr 2024

Changing ads and attitudes

An award-winning project has turned a heavily criticised advertising initiative into an interactive information service to improve life for an urban community. City bosses in Sydney struck a deal in 2020 which saw an outdoor advertiser pay for new street furniture such as bus shelters in return for rights to all their outside screens. However, the move sparked protests on social media from people who called for the screens to be removed or put to better use.

To change attitudes toward the electronic billboards, the Australian city’s Design and Digital Innovation Team worked on creating content for them that would be useful and help solve people’s problems. They held workshops, created prototypes, used customer personas and tested potential ideas for usability.

Two concepts were created – a dynamic What’s On feed showing events in the city and an interactive Welcome to Sydney map. The new screen content has been rolled out to eight sites in Sydney so far with hundreds of people interacting with them.

The project has been awarded a Gold Better Future Award in this year’s GOV Design Awards, which celebrate design projects around the world in the government, community and public sectors. Find out more about the project and the awards