European Space Agency Case Study


27 Stakeholders, User Interviews, Wireframes & IA, Web Design, Drupal development

The European Space Agency | Business Applications were looking to gain a 70% increase in grant applications in the UK, but didn't have the in-house expertise to achieve this efficiently.

ESA Business Applications (ESA BA) is responsible for awarding grant funding to ventures who plan on incorporating cutting-edge space technology on earth. With a team of engineers available to mentor these companies to build robust products, ESA BA have fostered many ventures across europe that have stimulated economic growth. With a growing amount of grant funding to award, ESA BA needed to grow their applicant pool, but didn't have the expertise to attract a wider range of ventures to apply for funding. Under a Visual Storytelling Studio, a Marketing Strategy consultancy and Calibre came in to achieve a step change in growth, and Calibre was responsible for the UX-driven website redesign.



Research-driven strategy

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With 27 stakeholders with opinions on the website changes and no clear decision-making structure, we knew the project could lose momentum very quickly. To combat this, we carried out 1-1 interviews and analysed this user reseach to surface the key changes that would contribute to the organisations strategic goals, ranked by effort and impact.

Once we had this high quality insight in place, we were able to filter out the low quality stakeholder input by explaining to them what we could do instead, and why.

Through our rapid prototyping and feedback processes, our wireframes received input from engineering, copywriting, design, and marketing, which meant full stakeholder buy-in to a solution that would get the key messages across to our users.

Visual Storytelling

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Since we were designing for an aspirational brand like the Space Agency, we saw an opportunity to get people excited about being part of the story.

We did this by collaborating with Nucco Brain to incorporate stylised illustratoins (instead of photography), thereby tapping into an age-old storytelling technique to invite the user to imagine themselves being part of the story. This is particularly valuable when your strategic goal is encourage more people to apply for grant applications.

Take a look at how it turned out

Technical Communication

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When coordinating between 5 companies with varying degrees of technical knowledge, there's a risk of losing engagement from some stakeholders, especially if they find it hard or impossible to understand what's going on. To avoid this, accessible language is crucial in all communications.

From here, it's standard management practice to dedicate 1 main point of contact within each team, and we ensured that this clear communication channel was set up from the beginning.

Finally, it's important to have one clear message for everyone to receive. Our commms needed to have a consistent format, vocabulary, and project plan, like the email below. The key with this email is to stick to the same naming conventions for the rest of the project so as not to confuse people.

The result:


If you’re carrying out user research, you get a statistically significant enough sample by testing with just 5 users.

There’s some clever stats behind it, outlined in this InVision article. We recommend reading it if you want to understand why, or know when your particular case calls for a different number of users to test with.

Contact us to discover more ways you can leverage technology to grow your company