Ben Crothers: design thinker, design manager, design mentor

I’m a designer with deep knowledge and expertise in creating digital experiences. I like to design to change lives, not just the décor, but even more than that I like to bring out creativity in others.

Proudest moment

> $1 Million
year-on-year increase in online revenue
and making one small change

I had already enhanced the World’s Great Shave website so that each shaver got their own blog to add their story and photos.

I applied my research into people’s motivations for donating, and added a simple online donation option whenever people commented on someone else’s photos and posts. These micro-donations added up to over $1 million in extra fundraising revenue.

World's Great Shave

Recent work

  • Parliament House website redesign

    Parliament House website redesign

    1 of 3: Home page

    I completely re-thought the underlying interaction model of the Parliament House website, to not only showcase the building, but to re-orient information to help everyone better understand and be more aware of their local member, their senators and bills that were going through Parliament.

    My role

    Requirements and research, stakeholder management, concept, information architecture and user interface design, subcontractor negotiation and management.

  • Parliament House website redesign

    Parliament House website redesign

    2 of 3: Vibrancy in and out of the House

    I had a clear vision for showcasing the building itself, its architecture and other cultural aspects. The lines and surfaces of the building create quite a grand aesthetic in the changing light.

    I highlighted this by working with a photographer and visual designer to ensure the home page shows different images of the façade at different times of the day.

  • Parliament House website redesign

    Parliament House website redesign

    3 of 3: Getting to know your Parliament and your politicians

    Research showed that generally we all care about particular national issues, but hardly know who our local members and senators are, let alone what bills are going through Parliament. To better connect these, I devised a way for people to find their local member by postcode (or name), and track politicians and bills and their activitity in Parliament.

    Now you have a better view on who is acting on the issues important to you than the nightly news.

  • Water Factory Company customer experience strategy

    Water Factory Company customer experience strategy

    1 of 2: Bold business re-modelling

    Water Factory Company are an up-and-coming recycled water utility, but needed to sharpen their business model and strategy to be better placed for market opportunities. Through several envisioning workshops and conducting field research and interviews, I helped them to re-frame their service in ways that would better resonate with their target audiences.

    I reflected, analysed and translated what I found into several storyboards that depicted target audiences with ideal experiences, plus what was needed in each channel to make that happen.

    My role

    Field research, requirements and business mode analysis, personas, customer service strategy, storyboarding, service mapping and feature roadmap

  • Water Factory Company customer experience strategy

    Water Factory Company customer experience strategy

    2 of 2: Customer journey mapping

    I conducted several workshops with stakeholders as well as others who represented various parts of their service eco-system, focusing particularly on customer journey mapping, and the processes needed to connect and use recycled water.

    The client gained a lot of insight from these workshops; as well as being galvanised in their customer focus, they realised several important process improvements they could make.

  • AHRC Something in Common website

    Something in Common website

    1 of 3: Digital strategy

    The Australian Human Rights Commission needed a new way to reach new audiences online for increased awareness and discussion about important human rights issues.

    Using some unexpected insights, I devised an online community building strategy that would drive traffic from social media channels to a new online presence for these outcomes.

    My role

    Leading research, requirements and personas, digital concept and strategy, leading information architecture and interaction design, ensuring strategic vision was demonstrated functionally and visually.

  • AHRC Something in Common website

    Something in Common website

    2 of 3: Using stories to find connection

    We quickly settled on the power of real stories told through short online videos to help people put aside assumptions, find connection with others, and realise that making little changes can help to bring about bigger change. The website also includes a way to compile a list of actions - big or small - that you can do.

    This progression is demonstrated by using action-based primary navigation labels that form a journey through the website, as well as always presenting a ‘next best action’.

  • AHRC Something in Common website

    Something in Common website

    3 of 3: Process optimisation

    I headed up the team to produce the digital concept, design and development, as well as working closely with the Creative Director to collaborate on how the strategy would be interpreted through the visual design.

    I also introduced the practice of concept testing workshops with target audiences, so that we could test earlier to give us (and our client) peace of mind that our designs were on the right track, and a hi-fi online prototype for usability testing.

  • Tell Me Something I Don't Know website

    Tell me something I don’t know

    1 of 3: Concept testing

    One of the biggest problems that our research revealed was how to attract those for whom human rights issues weren’ issue.

    Research workshops had shown how people liked short sharp facts that were easy to understand, easy to share, and easy for them to add their own ‘take’, rather than long preachy stories.

    By helping the team to brainstorm based on personas and behaviours, we conceived the Tell me something I don’t know website, which I then lead concept testing sessions to validate our designs.

    My role

    Website concept and user interface design, research workshops, concept testing workshops, leading creativity and brainstorming activities.

  • Tell Me Something I Don't Know website

    Tell me something I don’t know

    2 of 3: Pragmatic design

    Another problem was addressing the client’s desire to have everything rendered as infographics, with a limited budget, and for use in a CMS for the client to update.

    By analysing the content available, I was able to convince the client that their data was catchier and more sharable if rendered as text using thought-provoking juxtapositions instead. This also made it much easier for them to manage in their CMS.

  • Tell Me Something I Don't Know website

    Tell me something I don’t know

    3 of 3: From bait to hook

    The Tell me something I don’t know website was part of the whole digital strategy, of catching peripheral audiences based on thought-provoking facts, and tempting them to ‘dig deeper’ by visiting the Something in Common website.

    Both websites were launched with this YouTube video played during the 2011 Australian Human Rights Awards.

  • Vodafone support website

    Vodafone Hutchison Australia

    1 of 3: Usable insights

    As part of a multi-project engagement with Vodafone, I lead a team to conduct various customer experience research and modelling activities to bring their understanding of their customers up to date.

    By scrutinising their drivers for the research, I was able to gear the results into insights that they could readily act on, and provide information that they could use to put several arguments and assumptions to rest.

    My role

    Customer requirements and co-design workshops, stakeholder workshops, on-site observations, customer journey modelling, personas, storyboarding.

  • Vodafone support website

    Vodafone Hutchison Australia

    2 of 3: Process optimisation

    Part of my engagement with the internal design team was to help them bridge the gap between mountains of existing (and new) research, and productive user experience design.

    This included storyboarding as a way of discovering service design optimisations, sketch-based brainstorming sessions, pitch-and-critique sessions, and concept testing sessions with either customers or internal stakeholders.

  • Vodafone support website

    Vodafone Hutchison Australia

    3 of 3: New customer support website

    I worked with an internal team of designers at Vodafone to implement much of the research insights we had found into a more useful online customer support experience. This included a complete re-design of the online support area, as well as extensive technical consultation to ensure that our designs could be implemented in the platform Vodafone had chosen.

    It was also satisfying to encourage - and see results of - a responsive design approach to the new version, which uses media queries to adapt to smartphone screens.

  • Oxfam design coaching


    Design for change website consultation

    Oxfam approached Digital Eskimo to assist with a new problem: how to increase the reach of their social innovation program Design for Change from tertiary students to new audiences with more skills and experience to contribute.

    We opted for a mentoring engagement model, where I constructed the best approach to achieve the best website concept and design, coached the Oxfam design team (as well as a Digital Eskimo intern) on various user experience design techniques, and reviewed their work, stage by stage.

    My role

    UX design mentoring and coaching, digital strategy, concept and design.

Parliament House website redesign

Parliament house

Turning a ten-year-old website into a showcase for the building, and opening access to our politicians

Water Factory Company customer experience strategy

Water Factory Company

Re-framing technical material into experiences worth sharing

Something in Common website

Something in Common

Using everyday stories to encourage others to make change

Tell Me Something I Don't Know website

Tell me something I don’t know

Equipping the Commission to use the right bait in public debate

Vodafone support website


Helping designers to work smarter, and helping customers to breathe easier

Oxfam design coaching


Coaching designers to build a platform for other designers

Experience design techniques



I enjoy working with clients and customers, as well as for them, and I believe all those motherhood statements about collaboration because I’ve seen it actually happen. I’m always coming up with new workshop activities to keep things interesting and productive.

Modelling and sketching


I draw out workflows, customer journeys, object diagrams, conceptual models, site maps... anything to help me and my team think, and to communicate to each other and to clients. Drawing models in front of clients and stakeholders is a rapid and intriguing way to reach outcomes and decisions.



Storyboards are a powerful and economical instrument to communicate issues or potential solutions to designers and customers alike. They’re a great way to bring together all elements involved in either, in a way that documents and presentations can’t match.



I’m a big fan of prototyping, from humble fast paper prototyping in a group to high-fidelity online clickable prototypes to test one-on-one. I find them so effective, I even wrote my own online prototyping application: Allambra (and yes, you can try it out if you want to).

Thinking and (a)musing

Latest post

Sketchnotes from Design Thinking meetup, Sydney

Leading design with intent: Design Thinking meetup, Sydney

It’s one of us design professionals’ great ironies in our working lives that we spend so much attention on the design of whatever it is we’re designing, but little on our own working habits...

Read the full post

Writing and speaking


Bringing out your inner design thinker

This talk explores how we can all use the lo-fi materials we have in our office stationery cupboards to make simple but innovative tools for teams to use, to help them in strategy, decision-making, prioritisation and communication.
Link Festival | February 2015

Personas 2.0 - IxDA, Sydney

Link to YouTube video of me gicing a talk on Personas 2.0 How we reimagined personas at Atlassian, both their form and the way we use them.

Bottom Up or Top Down? Balancing Community Engagement with Leadership

Panel discussion | Green Cities 2013 Conference | March 2013

Sketching in service design

Vimeo: Service Design Thinks and Drinks Sydney : Ben Crothers Live sketch-along session, accompanied by a how-to presentation.
April 2012

Guiding the way to living greener: how psychology helped IA for a new government website

October 2009


Teaching and mentoring



I regularly coach and mentor others in design, concept development, and project management. I’m passionate about unlocking potential in other designers, and I enjoy helping them to scrutinise their own goals, thinking, habits and skills so that they are better equipped and better aware of their own design path.

I ... had the opportunity to work with Ben at Digital Eskimo, and was able to tap into his wealth of co-design knowledge and experience, ranging from the details of effective workshop facilitation to sketching to quickly communicate abstract ideas.

Stephen, User-centered Designer | 2013

Thanks a million for your amazing mentorship - I’ve learned so much more than I ever imagined I would from an internship. Definitely lucky to have had you helping me out!

David, Intern | 2013

I worked on one of Ben’s projects during my time at Digital Eskimo. Though perpetually swamped with work, Ben was always more than happy to stop and review my work with me and gave focused, helpful feedback. He gave me opportunities to do work beyond my comfort zone and through it, I learned of my strengths and weaknesses and grew as a designer. Ben is a brilliant mentor who manages to extract inspiration from the most mundane situations and genuinely enjoys sharing his wisdom and humor with others, and I am very fortunate to have had some of his time.

Alice, Intern | 2012