The forgotten people: going beyond the ‘minimal viable cohort’

What happens if, rather than putting into the ‘too hard basket’, we make the opportunity to talk to the forgotten people – people such as transgender individuals and refugees? How do we take complex learnings and insights into our design process? How do these learnings influence our product prioritisation when we’re running to tight timeframes and other constraints?

Releasing a minimum viable product does not give you a ‘get out of jail free’ card to avoid the complex design challenges. In this talk we will share with you a snippet of our product’s journey as we research and design for people who need to prove their identity. By considering the needs of these forgotten people, we have been able to take the product in a direction that we may not have considered if we were targeting the ‘minimal viable cohort’!

We’ve learnt from transgender individuals battling with the system of transitioning, UNHCR refugees trying to find their feet in Australia, foster parents navigating the complexity of caring for multiple kids, and young people trying to get by in vulnerable and difficult life situations. Each of these individuals has helped mature our product, and our understanding of what it is like to be a person accessing a government service, in unexpected, exciting ways. They have broadened our understanding of what it means to make your product truly inclusive. We want to share what you can do with the rich insights you purposefully, or accidentally, capture along the way; how you can be brave and challenge the design of your service or product; and how, as a team, you can deliver a more nuanced, inclusive experience.


  • Lily Ainsworth and Meera Pankhania

    Lily Ainsworth

    I am a curious, overenthusiastic anthropologist who has landed in the world of UX. My past experiences include ethnographic research on plant medicine in the Amazon jungle, teaching anthropology at Macquarie University, and having way too much fun choreographing music videos.

    I am currently working at the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) on the Digital Identity project, where I have had the absolute pleasure of keeping the diversity of human experiences at the forefront of my team’s mind. I have learnt about the agile and iterative way of doing research, design, and product development, and am excited by the opportunities I can see for anthropology and UX to move closer together.

    Meera Pankhania

    Having spent most of my career as a user experience practitioner in the UK and now in Australia, I have recently taken a daunting leap from service design and user research to leading a product team.

    As a product manager on an agile program of work at the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA), I’ve been able to draw on my past experiences to prioritise product improvements by keeping user emotion in mind. The exciting challenge has been juggling user needs with the needs of policy, business, and technology (no pressure)!

    I am also doing my best to not be biased towards the researchers and designers in the team...


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