Public Interest Advocacy Centre

Knowledge Platform

Towards Truth is a website and knowledge platform that empowers First Nations people, by giving them access to information on legislation and policy that has affected them throughout Australian history.

This is a collaborative project, years in the making, calling on experts from the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) and the Indigenous Law Centre of UNSW to catalogue, interpret, and distil thousands of legal records and documents into a central database.

Towards Truth makes it possible for indigenous people to find out more about the impact of laws and policies in a way that’s accessible, for the first time. Every piece of information is backed up by research with original documents, so it’s also a valuable tool for researchers, legal professionals and academics. Visitors can choose a short summary, or they can dig deeper.

PIAC approached Custom D to help bring this concept to life, and we jumped at the chance to be involved. It has a strong purpose behind it, and fits our strengths of matching an intuitive user experience with sophisticated back-end technology.

Single Source of Truth

The information that is on the website is powered by a comprehensive database that PIAC have built up behind the scenes over several years. To ensure they can continue expanding the database over time, we built a direct integration. This means PIAC can update the database at any time and have that information fed through to the website automatically and securely.

Engaging User Experience

Arguably the most important key to the success of this platform is the experience people have using it. So we worked with designers who prototyped all pages and concepts. Feedback was gathered from different members of the community and the designs were iterated until a consensus was reached. In a process that involved multiple stakeholders, designers, and experts, there was particular attention paid to the cultural design considerations of First Nations people.

Scaling to Usage Demands

With an online platform like this, there is potential for large spikes in traffic and usage, given the very public nature of the content and topics. So we setup the AWS infrastructure and web framework in a way that ensures spikes in demand don’t negatively affect performance or uptime.

Best Practice: Accessibility

The website is built to modern accessibility standards (WCAG 2). This means all content is structured in a way that makes it accessible to those with disabilities affecting visual, auditory and physical senses, or cognitive, language and learning abilities. Less than 5% of websites meet accessibility standards. It increases time and cost to build, but we leveraged design frameworks that made this process more efficient and less error-prone. For an organisation like PIAC that tackles injustice, inequality, and champions human rights, accessibility is an absolute must.