Skip to main content

Coastalwatch Plus

Coastalwatch is Australia's leading surf forecasting and surf community website, and engaged PreviousNext to implement the user experience design and manage the development of their premium subscription service, Coastalwatch Plus.


When Coastalwatch sought to transform their popular free website into a subscription based service (Coastalwatch Plus), the first phase was to conduct a study to determine exactly what their diverse users would be prepared to pay for.

Initially engaged to undertake this study, PreviousNext’s responsibilities quickly expanded to include leading the information architecture, design and project management of Coastalwatch’s internal development team.

Coastalwatch Digital Manager, Russell Holt said, “Our aim was to create a premium subscriber service of our existing website We wanted to start charging for content that we had been giving away for 15 years - a mammoth proposition!”


A critical component of Coastalwatch Plus launch was building a website that users were prepared to pay for. To ensure this, PreviousNext identified a number of archetypal user profiles, interviewed multiple users within each category and refined the suite of offerings within the Coastalwatch Plus site based on the qualitative research obtained from this process.  

The Coastalwatch content management system was built by the internal development team with .NET, and PreviousNext ensured the team implemented the user experience and design approach as intended by Creative Director, Ben Hockley. This was an incredibly complex build, so excellent communication and the ability to collaborate ensured the internal team were able to keep pace with the requirements. Once completed, the website management reins were handed back to the internal development team. 


To measure their outcomes and return on investment, Coastalwatch Plus had very specific targets around sign up numbers; the new site and sign up numbers exceeded these targets. 

Holt said, “It worked. We moved into a normal production cycle after it was launched live successfully to the public, with a sign up rate that we are excited about.”

The site is a testament to the complex user experience consulting and design PreviousNext is able to undertake, and the complex development projects the firm is able to manage with interdisciplinary teams in disparate locations.