Reviewing our vision for amica.gov.au
We’ve learned a lot since launching amica in June 2020. amica, supported by the Australian Government and National Legal Aid, uniquely empowers Australians to navigate challenging times through AI-guided asset division. This innovative approach ensures users receive accurate, trustworthy, and court-ready agreements, which can have a significant impact on people who are experiencing one of life’s hardest situations.
We designed the platform with our partners at the Legal Services Commission South Australia (LSC) with four goals in mind:
- Create a collaborative online platform for former partners to enter all their details, agree on a division of total assets, determine parenting arrangements, and generate a document reflecting their agreement.
- Increase access to the property and parenting separation legal processes for Australians (especially those in the ‘missing middle’ who don’t qualify for legal aid but can’t afford private legal services)
- Provide relevant information and help people independently understand their legal situation clearly.
- Enable better collaboration and negotiation through technology
With over 1.5 million website views and 9,500 matters registered, amica is quickly becoming a known, dependable, and valuable resource that we feel is making great strides in achieving the goals we set.
But for us, we’ve found the key indicator of amica’s success over the past few years is the enormous social benefit being delivered to Australians who have empowered themselves with information and the value to those who have gone on to receive a suggested division from amica’s AI or finalised their separation through one of the agreements generated by amica. The average cost of legal advice for such matters is more than $10,000 per person, Australians have saved more than $24 million by using amica.
Defining a new offering
We wanted to keep improving amica and help even more people who are separating in Australia, so we worked with LSC to look at the analytics, usage data, and user feedback to find new ways to add value to users. Our analytics showed there were a lot of people who were signing up to amica by entering their own email twice to avoid having to invite their partner. This data, mixed with insights from user surveys and testing, inspired us to create a new version of amica that would allow a single party to enter key information on behalf of both parties, review the output of the asset division, and better understand the platform before deciding to use it with their ex-partner. An individual can use this platform to answer questions relating to their property, finances, and contributions, giving amica the information required to suggest a ‘suggested division’ range for the user.
To test our idea, we recruited 10 people from a range of backgrounds and situations. None of them had ever heard of amica and all of them had recently separated from their former partner, but they were at different stages of their separation journey - some had already divided their property, and some had just recently escaped an abusive relationship. We collected invaluable feedback from the process,
- Helping people set their expectations around the process and the division of assets can help with the emotionally distressing parts of the separation.
- Receiving prompts or a checklist of what to think about when dividing assets will help people prepare.
- Having education and guidance around the process first would increase confidence.
But most of all, we were encouraged to hear that this single-person version wouldn't compete with the main value proposition of amica. Research participants still saw value in collaboration with their former partner to create legal documents, or getting legal help or support from other services.
Spinning off a new product
Given we already had a live product, we created a lighter version of the brand, incorporating more white space and secondary colours, to help people feel more connected to amica while signaling that amica one is more of a demonstration or personal research tool for individuals. We also used the opportunity to streamline and reduce the required questions and sections to make the process as quick and easy as possible, reducing the number of steps and introducing a simplified dashboard.
Mapping all the user flows and tasks up front allowed us to reuse existing components and develop the new functionality much more quickly and efficiently. The new version of amica also exists as an easily accessible, single-session experience so people don’t have to go through the process of signing up and creating an account - they can just visit the website and get started.
Launching and iterating
We’ve had around 12,000 people use amica one since we launched in January 2023. What we’ve found is that many people are using it as we had hoped they would - to get an idea of their situation, decide if amica is right for them, and then take the best path on their separation journey (either through amica or somewhere else).
What’s next for us? We’re looking at how to improve the clarity around what amica one can do for people, and what the main version of amica does through updating the landing page for both and improving our content. We want to get it into the hands of more Australians. Going through a separation is hard. We want amica one to make this difficult process as easy as possible and to equip people with the information they need to have tough conversations with their former partners.
Kelly Rudd, amica Team Leader at LSC said,
"It was great working with the team at Portable. From the initial discussions to the final implementation, they demonstrated a deep understanding of our requirements. The collaboration on the design and build was seamless, making the entire process remarkably easy. What stood out to me was their commitment to prioritising the end user's needs, placing them at the forefront of their design decisions. The result was not just a successful project, but one that truly resonated with and catered to our users. Kudos to the Portable team for their expertise and collaborative approach."