Victorian Small Business Commission

A scalable publishing system to empower small business.

The Victorian Small Business Commission (VSBC) provides a huge range of essential resources that bolster small businesses to grow and prosper.

In Victoria, ‘small business’ is anything but. The state is home to more than 556,000 small businesses that make up 97% of the business sector, and nearly half of all private sector jobs. It’s no surprise that the State Government is invested in supporting a robust, resilient, and flourishing small business sector. Especially in the wake of COVID-19.

With expansive content and a wide range of services of offer, the VSBC offers comprehensive resources for small businesses of all kinds. Everything the Commission does is carefully designed to support small businesses to avoid or resolve disputes quickly—minimising red tape while promoting greater efficiency and effectiveness—so they can get back to serving the community.


  • State Government, small business


  • Victoria

The problem

Small business support is a seriously sizeable, and ever evolving, undertaking. The VSBC offers a wide range of critical provisions for small business, from how-to guides and written resources to dispute resolution and advocacy. Plus, the Commission supports all kinds of industries and sectors, spanning farmers, gig workers, landowners, retail tenants, owner drivers and hirers, and the lawyers who represent them.

The approach

Build a highly scalable content publishing platform and design system. This will ensure the VSBC is accessible and easy to engage, and that the platform offers longevity. For the VSBC, the site and system must easily scale and adapt to rapidly evolving content requirements. It must house extensive libraries of content in multiple content formats, including long-form editorial, video, checklists, and more.

The end-game

A best-in-breed content publishing platform to support the Commission in bolstering small business long term. The solution must be versatile to accommodate the constantly fluctuating context of the small business sector. For example, the impact of macro-economic factors like COVID-19 or interest rate rises will have implications for the type of content and supports on offer. At the same time, it must be solidly systemised to ensure consistent conventions, as content scales and with multiple administrative staff or teams publishing content.


The VSBC balances flexibility with the right level of systemised constraint. This empowers the team to publish new and evolving streams of content, while keeping things cohesive, easy to control, and consistent.


An intuitive content architecture ensures that small business owners can find meaningful and relevant materials or services quickly.

The VSBC make content discoverable via multiple pathways. This approach accommodates the wide range of audiences and their varying preferences for finding information. The content is available in multiple languages, too.

The VSBC knows the best way to facilitate quick and easy discover is to adopt an ‘outside in’ approach to content architecture. This involves constructing the site and arranging material in the way that makes sense to people experiencing the content for the very first time. Learn more about designing intuitive content pathways when dealing with large amounts of material.


Using accessible terminology, the menu speaks directly to visitor needs through a goal-based navigation.

A large, comprehensive menu effectively acts as a complete representation of the website’s content, offering clear pathways to material that meets specific user needs. Whether you’re looking for retail lease regulations or dispute resolution, you’ll find it quickly through the VSBC’s intuitive navigation.

The VSBC validated this approach through a careful program of evidence-based testing with navigational prototypes. This activity ensured all navigational labelling terminology is simple, clear, and accessible. It also validated that specific content items existed in the pathways where users expect to find them; rapid findability is an important consideration and always worth testing in content-heavy government websites.


It’s common for content-rich government websites to have significant amounts of text-only material. The VSBC is no exception. Still, they keep things engaging through proven design techniques and usability best-practice.

Once you find the right material, the VSBC uses a range of best-practice typographic design techniques to ensure everything is optimised for easy readability and quick scanning. This way, it’s incredibly efficient to skim for key information, despite the dense and highly detailed material on offer.


The VSBC invested in an extensive design system to ensure their publishing platform is highly flexible and extensible.

At the same time, the system provides constraint and cohesion to ensure teams can build out new content while staying aligned with brand guidelines. The design system for the VSBC is extensive, offering comprehensive direction and ‘drag and drop’ replicable building blocks. From button styling to form fields, font styles, hyperlinks, and all sorts of content presentation formats, the VSBC provides clarity and scalability to empower its team of website administrators.

Using systemised components is beneficial in multiple ways:

  • For visitors, consistency is built into the experience to reduce the amount of learning required to freely navigate the system. As a result, small business owners can quickly and easily browse through deep content while focusing on capacity building rather than getting from A to B.
  • From the VSBC’s perspective, content is easy to publish quickly—and at scale—as authors can choose from an extensive palette of publishing tools and elements. This allows the team to build out content flexibly as needed, rather than work within the rigid constraints of inflexible templates.

Learn more about the many benefits of building products using design systems.


A deep and extensive content library can seem overwhelming. However, with the right tools, approach, and support, voluminous content will drive enormous value: for both your organisation and your audiences.

If, like the VSBC, you need to organise and publish huge amounts of content—for a wide range of audiences, in multiple formats, and with many administrative teams or stakeholders supporting the platform—these resources can help you kick things off:

Alternatively, we’re ready to get started and help you build the ideal solution.

Let’s do it