Unlocking the Cool Factor: The successful digital transformation of Cool.org

Cool Australia's online platform redevelopment has transformed sustainable education services. This project has laid a strong foundation for Cool Australia's mission and future expansion in the education sector.

Cool Australia was founded with the mission to educate current and future generations about the three pillars of sustainability (social, economic, and environmental), and has been a pioneer in providing educational resources and real-world connections to children in Australia. Recognising the power of education, Cool Australia embarked on a transformative journey to redevelop coolaustralia.org into a cutting-edge online platform.

The aim of this project was to enhance user experience, increase engagement, and offer users paid membership functionality that allowed access to premium content and professional development courses in the custom Learning Management System (LMS).  A key strategic decision was to also improve data collection to better understand how users engage and interact with the site to support continuous improvement and ongoing enhancements of new features and functionality. 

Project Scope


  • Improve Overall User Experience: Enhance the website's design, simplify registration, curate content based on user preferences, and implement a robust search engine.
  • Build Paid Membership Functionality: Develop a subscription service to offer premium resources and professional development courses, with a seamless purchasing experience through an existing payment gateway.
  • Develop a Custom Learning Management System (LMS): Create a custom LMS that allows teachers to obtain accredited certification through professional development courses on the website. 
  • Streamline Content Publishing Workflow: Create an easy-to-use Content Management System (CMS) with templates and flexibility to facilitate efficient content publishing.
  • Enable Ongoing Investment and Development: Ensure the platform's scalability and support for future optimisation and enhancements by using contemporary technologies and development languages.

Design Audit:

The project began with a detailed assessment of the existing designs provided by Cool Australia's design contractor. This assessment aimed to:

  • Audit and evaluate the supplied designs to understand the approach, gaps, limitations, and risks related to functionality.
  • Document findings and provide insights into desired functionality, offering guidance on best practices where necessary.

Development - Custom Content Management System (CMS)

To streamline content publishing, a new bespoke Content Management System (CMS) was designed and built with Laravel:

  • The custom CMS offered user-friendly page templates and flexibility for content creators.
  • It simplified content creation, editing, and publishing processes.
  • Enhanced content management capabilities for administrators to monitor and curate educational materials efficiently.

Development - Custom Learning Management System (LMS)

A significant component of the project was the development of a custom Learning Management System (LMS).

This system, also built with Laravel, allows teachers to access professional development courses that provide the necessary accreditation and certification across most of the states in Australia. 

Development - Paid Membership Functionality

The project integrated a paid membership system into the platform. This included:

  • Developing a subscription service offering various billing options.
  • Ensuring a seamless purchasing experience by integrating with Cool’s existing payment gateway, Stripe. 
  • Integrating with Stripe for user management functionalities for member accounts, including subscription management.

Development - Content Migration

The project also involved migrating hundreds of users and a significant amount of content, including thousands of lessons, worksheets, and activities, from the existing WordPress platform into the new system.

This task required meticulous planning to ensure data integrity and a seamless transition for users.

Development - Integration with BI Tools

In order to meet the objective of greater data collection, the project required the site to integrate with BI tools Active Campaign and Zoho.

The data collected through the sign-up journey, such as role, location, preferences for lessons, grades and then behaviour such as downloads are all captured. 

Development - Download Requirements

A key feature of the website is providing downloadable material for users.

The platform was designed to take HTML-generated files and offer users the ability to download these files as formatted Docx and PDF documents. This was a key piece of functionality that provided the greatest value for users. 

Development - Ongoing Investment

The redevelopment also focused on ensuring the platform's scalability, adaptability, and readiness for ongoing investment and development:

  • Utilising current and supported technologies and development languages to accommodate future enhancements.
  • Implementing a flexible architecture that allows for iterative updates and enhancements in line with customer needs.
  • Preparing the platform's infrastructure to scale with the organisation's growth and evolving customer demands. Including preparing the platform's infrastructure for future growth and expansion into global markets.

Our Approach

Design Audit

The project began with a detailed assessment of the existing designs provided by Cool Australia's design contractor. This assessment aimed to:

  • Audit and evaluate the supplied designs to understand the approach, gaps, limitations, and risks related to functionality.
  • Document findings and provide insights into desired functionality, offering guidance on best practices where necessary.
  • Our focus during this period was on making sure the key functionality of the site was designed according to best practice, these features included;
  1. the sign-up and registration flow to simplify user onboarding,
  2. a "preferences" section in the dashboard to allow users to personalise their content,
  3. a comprehensive and robust search engine to improve content discoverability.

Technical Documentation

A detailed technical planning stage was undertaken at the beginning of the project and documentation was created outlining the specific requirements for each aspect of the project, including core functionality, CMS architecture, paid membership functionality, and technical foundation.

Development Phases

The project was divided into several phases, including:

  • Discovery and Planning: Gathering requirements, defining project scope, and developing a detailed project plan.
  • Design assessment and acceptance criteria: After reviewing the designs, the team developed the necessary acceptance criteria for each of the components and the overall functionality of the site.
  • Development and Integration: Building the platform components in Laravel, including the core foundational website, paid membership system, CMS, and LMS.
  • Testing and Quality Assurance: Rigorous testing of all functionalities to ensure reliability, security, and usability.
  • Deployment: Rolling out the new platform in stages, beginning with a controlled launch of the core MVP features. 
  • Ongoing development: Leveraging the power of automated deployment pipelines and the AWS Elastic Beanstalk service, we were able to rapidly reduce the traditional timespan for integration and deployments, allowing us to rapidly respond to change requests.
  • Monitoring and Optimisation: monitoring user behaviour and platform performance to make necessary improvements.



The redevelopment project achieved the following outcomes:

  • A modern and user-friendly online platform with improved user experience.
  • Successful implementation of a paid membership system, providing monetisation options.
  • Streamlined content publishing processes through the new CMS, reducing administrative overhead.
  • Enhanced scalability and readiness for international expansion.

Future Directions

Cool Australia's redeveloped online platform now serves as a robust foundation for its future endeavours.

The organisation plans to:

  • Actively monitor user behaviours and actions to further enhance personalisation and engagement.
  • Continuously expand its content library to cover a broader range of educational topics.
  • Explore strategic partnerships to accelerate international expansion efforts.
  • Stay updated with evolving technologies to remain at the forefront of online education.
  • Cool Australia is committed to its mission of providing quality education on sustainability and looks forward to a future where millions of students worldwide benefit from their online platform.


This was one of the most technically challenging projects this team has worked on, and also one of the most rewarding. The client was so wonderful to work with, we collaborated really well internally and adapted a lot throughout the process. I know everyone involved is really proud of what we’ve delivered.
- Sarah Parker 


  • Sarah Parker, Senior Producer
  • Emma McCann, Business Director/ Client Partner
  • Daniele Milazzo, Experience Designer 
  • Darcy Glennen, Senior Developer 
  • Kath Young, Technical Lead 
  • Prabhath de Silva, Technical Lead 
  • Andrew Fulton, Technical Lead 
  • Elly Loel, Developer 
  • Bryan Maniaul, QA Engineer

Read more about our work

Sign up to our email newsletter to get updates about our events, work and research

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.