Monash University

Monash University is one of Australia’s leading universities and ranks as one of the world’s top 100. Alongside top-level education, research-intensive organisations like Monash provide students and professionals access to the equipment and facilities they need to perform groundbreaking work.


Bring disconnected booking systems together in a functional way

Monash University recognised an opportunity to create a new, more functional research equipment search engine and partnered with Conduct. Together, they developed Arin – an easy-to-navigate, searchable web portal that connects researchers to the vast array of equipment available to them at research organisations in Australia.

Connecting researchers to the equipment they need

Organisations like Monash, Swinburne and RMIT are collaborative, meaning their researchers share resources. The problem? Each organisation has a separate database with disparate ways of cataloguing equipment and facilities, making it unnecessarily challenging for researchers to access what they need. To make Arin functional, Conduct had to solve a key challenge. How do you connect researchers to these resources through one portal when the data across organisations is so variable?

Normalising the data

Developing a functional, up-to-date search portal was not feasible when two pieces of the same equipment could have different descriptors depending on the organisation. So through four rounds of design, prototyping and user-testing, including input from workshops with a Swinburne University, RMIT, University of Melbourne and Monash University steering committee, Conduct uncovered a solution: ask Arin’s users to validate its information, improving and normalising its data in one easy-to-navigate place. The next challenge was figuring out precisely what messaging – and where in the user journey – would best encourage researchers to validate Arin’s suggestions.

Plotting the user journey

Conduct’s user-testing uncovered two valuable insights. First, they found that researchers value collegiality and collaboration regardless of their organisation. They want others to have access to what they need, and they’ll share time and knowledge to make that happen. So, Conduct crafted Arin’s messaging to appeal to this motivator of altruism.

Second, testing showed that researchers were only inclined to feedback on subject matter they were familiar with. The solution? Shift Arin’s prompt for user feedback until after they’ve already searched and narrowed results according to their field.

Meet Arin: the Australian Research Infrastructure Network

Ultimately, Arin became a human-focused tool that gathers information from participating research institutions and indexes it in one intuitive portal. It learns from those who use it via a nudge called ‘Train Arin.’ And once users have validated its suggestions, it sends this information to the Facility Manager to improve the data at the source. Victoria is just the beginning of Arin’s journey. Now, Conduct and Monash University are taking the solution to a national audience, and it’s set to be launched as a white-labelled product in international markets.

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