For over 16 years, Australia Post has been helping people send money overseas with Western Union (WU). However, due to an outdated retail experience and the rise of digital-first competitors, Western Union transactions were in steep decline. 

Working across the initial discovery through to delivery, we reimagined the entire retail experience for both customers and staff, to make international money transfers a piece of cake.

Role: Lead Product Designer

Understanding the problems

To get a clearer understanding of the experience, we gathered internal data on customer and frontline staff behaviours, as well as business insights from both Australia Post and WU stakeholders.

This led to the creation of a service blueprint, which uncovered 3 key problem areas:

  1. It was time-consuming – The average transaction time for new customers was 17.5 minutes.

  2. It was manual – All customers were required to complete a complex paper form, the details of which then had to be manually entered by an operator into an outdated system.

  3. It was confusing – Customers were unsure what the process entailed, which documents they needed and what to do once the money had been sent.
Frame 1

We needed to balance the needs of both user types as we entered the design phase

Designing for speed

With queues of people to serve, operators were under immense time pressure. Customers would often join the queue only to be sent away if they had not pre-filled a WU form. It was clear this journey was causing friction and frustration for everyone involved.

To reduce the burden, we explored ways to streamline the experience by:

  • Fast-tracking existing customers, using their their mobile number to retrieve data
  • Minimising idle time and allowing customers to complete the WU form whilst at the counter
  • Creating a 'Start online, finish in-store' (SOFI) journey so customers could pre-fill information ahead of time

Early Axure prototype exploring how customers could be fast-tracked, simply by providing their mobile number

Simplifying data handling

The existing POS interface was confusing and outdated, making data entry a painful process. We looked to redesign the components to ensure they were highly functional and could be operated by a wide variety of people across a network of 6000+ outlets. To do this we:

  • Placed emphasis on pre-fill, search, filter and auto-complete functionality
  • Ensured the system could be easily navigated by both mouse and keyboard inputs, as well as future-proofing it for touch interactions
  • Used inline, contextual feedback states
  • Rigorously tested each component to ensure it passed accessibility standards and worked across varying ambient light levels

Components were designed to make data entry as simple as possible

Providing reassurance

Customers had little visibility over the end-to-end process and no way of confirming their details before handing over their hard-earned cash. If any information was entered incorrectly, the transfer would fail. This was not only bad for the customer but also the operator (who would lose out on their commission).

Pushing its technical capabilities, we leveraged the digital PINpad, using it to play back information to customers ahead of payment. This instilled greater confidence in both parties that the money would arrive safely.

A digital PINpad experience gave customers control of their data and reduced the onus on operators

Testing and validating

Next, we needed to test our reimagined experience. Using Axure and paper prototypes, we reenacted the transactions with real-life operators and customers simultaneously.

Running our tests in a mock Post Office, also allowed us to get a sense of how the journey would play out in the real world.

Testing the experience with customers and operators simultaneously

Iterating and refining

Feedback from the testing allowed us to sharpen our focus. Although the experience was a great improvement, there were still tweaks that needed to be made.

One of these included providing more guidance to operators. We created a range of "action panels" to assist with this – small instructional modules which helped them better service their customers.

High-fidelity prototype of the 'Send' transaction


The updated Western Union experience reduced the average transaction time from 17.5 minutes to 9.8 minutes, nearly a 50% time saving. The newly-designed UI components and digital PINpad technology have also formed the basis of a business-wide project, looking to reimagine the POS system as a whole. 

The new service launched nationwide in July 2020.