The Challenge

The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust helps to rebuild young lives after cancer, supporting people aged 8-17 and 18-24 to rediscover confidence through sailing and activity-based trips. The charity benefited from Dame Ellen MacArthur’s name, but one of the biggest challenges the organisation had when engaging with their audiences effectively was communicating the difference it makes to young people in their recovery. The digital processes potential donors, young people and parents had to go through were not intuitive and many gave up and phoned the charity instead. Although the work the charity does is life-changing for so many young people, the need for the Trust to engage with very different core audiences meant it had outgrown its previous website.

Since that site was built, the Trust has evolved from being a predominantly sailingbased to one that also runs multi-activity trips across the UK. And although the site contained an abundance of content, including vital trip information, it was difficult to navigate as a young person or parent. Separate to the information-led part of the website was a basic donations funnel which invited people to give small one-off donations. There was no online facility for regular giving.

Our brief was to design an intuitive, mobile-first website built on clear user journeys to meet the Trust’s two ambitions for 2020-2022 – i) to make meaningful connections with more young people in recovery from cancer and ii) to secure a diverse and robust income stream. The new website needed to communicate what Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust offered, who benefitted and proactively encouraged people to donate or enquire about coming on a trip.

Ellen Macarthur Cancer Trust
Ellen Macarthur Cancer Trust

The Partnership

While Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust had a strong visual brand for us to work with when designing the new website, it wasn’t applied in a way that communicated their values. Aesthetically, it was also important to create an environment that inspired young people and reassured them to move around the site to discover all the key trip information they needed. The biggest challenge users previously faced was figuring out how to navigate the abundance of information.

While the brief we initially received highlighted eight different audience groups who were reliant on the website, we simplified this into two groups - those interested in trips and those interested in supporting the charity (by donating, fundraising or volunteering). Within these two key audience groups we created personas and mapped out task-specific user journeys, which empowered every visitor to fulfil information finding or actions quickly and effortlessly. Having created a simplified structure through a UX-led wireframing process, we were able to design a user interface that expressed the energy and passion behind the trust throughout.

Ellen Macarthur Cancer Trust
Ellen Macarthur Cancer Trust

Simplifying the journey

The new homepage design featured brightly-coloured buttons asking visitors to identify themselves and what they were looking for in order to set them on them on the relevant path from the outset. Everything from the colours chosen, language used and sizing of typography were carefully considered to ensure directions were simple to follow. For visitors who preferred to browse, we also reconfigured the website’s main navigation, introducing easy-to-follow sub-navigation drop-downs and renaming page titles using language that both young people and adults could follow. With so many variations of sailing and activity-based trips available to different audience groups, special attention was paid to journey mapping within this arena. In the process, we removed much of the unnecessary content that users previously had to trawl through in order to reach the right page. We also simplified the look and feel of the newsletter sign-up and reduced the number of fields needed to join from 15 to 3.

Ellen Macarthur Cancer Trust

Telling a story

During the on-boarding process our client shared some incredibly moving stories of some of the young people whose lives were impacted by the charity. It was clear storytelling was a key issue to address in the new build, in order to create the connection between the support people gave and the impact it made to young peoples lives. This insight flowed through every aspect of the website, featuring real-life, heartfelt stories on key landing pages and evolving the language used for calls-to-action. This storytelling approach was also implemented within the donation process, explaining how each size of donation would support a young person going on a sailing or activity-based trip. Alongside the implementation of storytelling, we added the ability for donors to give on a regular basis and integrated this functionality with the existing shop and payment methods for ease.

The Positive Impact.


Ellen Macarthur Cancer Trust

Increase in Jan donations


Ellen Macarthur Cancer Trust

Increase in page views


Ellen Macarthur Cancer Trust

Increase in new users

It's been a real pleasure to work with Studio Republic on our new website... We had two really specific needs around recruiting more young people and removing some of the barriers around them joining us on a trip and like all charities, continuing to raise funds. Our new site has answered those two call to actions really well. It's been a real pleasure working with the team, Studio Republic kept us updated throughout the process. We've ended up with a site that does what we need, and we're really delighted with it. We'd highly recommend working with Studio Republic.

Frank Fletcher, CEO, Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust

Like what you see?
Want to work with an agency for good?

Call or email us today
01962 659 123

Email us

We'd love to hear from you!

A bit about you...
Confirm email
Your message
How can we get in touch?