Decisive Action Training Environment (DATE)

Morpht was approached by the Department of Defence to look at overhauling its Decisive Action Training Environment (DATE) website.  We refocused the site's design and content around audience needs and pain points. 


DATE is the training system of choice for the Australian Defence Force and its ABCANZ (American, British, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand) partners. 

It is a deep, immersive suite of doctrine and tactics, underpinned by realistically modelled operating environments including geopolitics, space, air, maritime, sub-surface, land and informational battle spaces. 

Decisive Action Training Environment (DATE) logo

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  • Drupal 10
  • Discovery
  • User experience
  • Convivial CXP
  • Web development

The challenge

The website needed to cater for a range of users with varied skills in the Defence force from Cadets to Generals and everyone in between, in addition to other government agencies who rely on the site for reference. It was imperative for the site to be intuitive for first-time and experienced users alike to help them navigate through training material and train for war by understanding the ‘operating environments’, countries of interest and their capabilities, download doctrine documents and view battle-ready tactics.

The solution

Morpht conducted an extensive discovery, including customer journey mapping to deliver a site that met all audiences needs and addressed the users pain points. The addition of Tactics, improved the findability of useful content and resources for the end user.

DATE site on devices

Discover and empathise

A deep understanding of audiences is what we needed. Following a human-centred design approach is where we started. We conducted stakeholder workshops to:

  1. Explore and prioritise business objectives, the vision for and the purpose of the site

  2. Identify audience groups and craft proto-personas for them. 

DATE discovery

Customer Journey Mapping

A proto-persona is a tool we use to help us identify perceived user needs, pain points and opportunities. We also brainstormed some suggestions to address those needs. 

To further validate our understanding of the users, we facilitated focus groups with end users and fleshed out their needs and pain points. We identified a primary audience group and conducted a Customer Journey Mapping exercise to develop a deeper understanding of their needs, both functional and informational, at different stages and levels of their journey in sourcing and building out training material for war exercises. 

DATE customer journey mapping

Define an information architecture

Armed with this knowledge from the Discovery activities, we crafted an information architecture and supported it with a set of wireframes for key pages to map out the user flow. These laid out an interactive model where the user can navigate through the site based on every stage of their journey, or take shortcuts to find basic informational building blocks (tactics) to help them prepare training exercises.

DATE wireframes

Easing users’ pain points

A tactic is a new addition to the site. It is what users have called out for as their main pain point. The primary audience of the site, Exercise Designers,  have previously been digging through various internal systems to find some written material that describes a war tactic and package it up with other material to produce their training.  Tactics are now audiovisual content classified with taxonomies so it would dynamically appear within the relevant training scenario pages or be searched for through the Tactics Hub.  Each tactic is supported by relevant Resources, eLearning modules and links to internal systems for Defence Force classified material. 

DATE tactics

The outcome

The site is rich in audiovisual content delivering the right level of information to users on each stage of their journey and supported by contextual searches for Tactics and Resources to improve the findability of information. 

By designing the site to address user pain points and improve user flows, Defence Force personnel can now easily find the information they need to prepare training exercises to skill up and prepare our Defence Forces. This site has proven to be such as reliable resource that 50% of traffic now comes from overseas partners.

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