Sushi Media

Catenian Bursary Fund

Branding, website, custom web application and User Experience campaign for a charity based in the UK.

User Experience Campaign 2019

In 2019 we followed up the below project with a user experience campaign.

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Website and custom web application 2018

The Catenian Bursary Fund are a registered charity in the UK offering financial assistance to young catholic people who wish to volunteer abroad in developing countries - predominantly in Asia, Africa and South America, and 'make a difference' to those who are less unfortunate. They also assist those wishing to go Lourdes (a small but significant town in France) to help the physically impaired who make the pilgrimage every year

Since 1981, young catholics were required to request an application form by email or letter, and submit a hard copy for evaluation by Trustees. The amount of grant or 'bursary' that the volunteer receives is based on criteria set out by the fund, such as length of project, or location.

In 2018 the client wished to build website and web based app that would not only facilitate the submission of applications via the website, but also the management and evaluation of those applications, with statuses from received through to paid.

What we did

We started by working with the client to create a branding direction that would target young generation and establish an online presence in the form of a website. We knew that the users would likely lean towards mobile use, so the website needed to be eye-catching and inspiring to a younger demographic, and be mobile friendly across a wide range of devices.

The client had already prepared a detailed set of requirements in the form of a written document. This needed to be reviewed with the client to produce a realistic plan and specification document to fit the budget and technological contraints.

We decided to build the application system on Wordpress and use the CMS to facilitate the management of applications with a custom built PHP plugin. Once a realistic product outline had been agreed upon, we set about producing some wireframes that would illustrate both the front and back end of the system. Things were complicated by the requirement of several user roles with differing privileges, and a voting system where Trustees could anonymously vote and suggest awards.

We have been providing branding and print work for the client since 2018, and we produced a video and direction for them to use at a presentation in March 2019 at Wembley Stadium, London to an audience of just over 10,000 people.

Visit the site

Become a member Custom website
Front page Front page
Admin Dashboard (Wordpress) Admin Dashboard (Wordpress)
Admin Dashboard Admin Dashboard
Single application view Single application view
News section (Restricted content) News section (Restricted content)


The website has been a success and has been in service now for almost two years with a steady increase in member applications. The member area has since expanded to include galleries and member related news.

Visit the site


(Content Management System)

We built the website and integrated into Wordpress so the client would be able to add, edit and remove content.
Wordpress made the website future-proof as the client may wish to expand the features of the site.

Secure, member-restricted pages

Secure area of the site for the client to be able to make announcements to its members.

Custom web application

Custom built plugin that enables users to apply for an "award" and for admin to be able to manage and assign values to applications.


(Content Management System)

We built the website and integrated into Wordpress so the client would be able to add, edit and remove content.
Wordpress made the website future-proof as the client may wish to expand the features of the site.

Twitter Bootstrap
(CSS Framework)

We used the popular Bootstrap CSS framework to speed up the building process and make sure the website is responsive for the latest devices.

Custom UI Design

Eye catching, custom design to engage potential applicants and encourage them to apply for financial support.

2019 User Experience campaign


In 2019 we carried out a one-month user experience campaign to iterate on the custom web application we built in 2018, to discover what pain points both the applicants and admin team were experiencing and to see what adjustments could be made based on user insights.

Primary research

We used two methods for our research:

  • One on one interviews with actual applicants over the phone to discover insights.
  • User testing on young catholics at the Australian Catholic University.

Some quotes:

  • "I didn't hear anything back about my application for almost three months!"
  • "I started the application on my laptop, and the battery died halfway, and I had to start everything from scratch on my phone."
  • "This would take forever to fill out!"
  • "The form is so overwhelming!"

Key insights

  • 85% of users preferred to fill out the application form on a desktop.
  • 31% of users had to start the form again.
  • 64% of survey responders asked for form-saving functionality.
  • All applicants were between 16 and 25 years old.
  • 43% of applicants had their projects arranged by their schools.
  • 76% of applicants were based in the UK when applying for an award.
  • Many of the applicants were not kept informed about the progress of their applications.
  • All usability testers liked the colour scheme and visuals.
  • Imagery played a crucial role in communicating the purpose of the website to users at first glance, however many users were mistaken in thinking the client actually arranges volunteer trips, rather than just provide funding.
14 1-to-1 interviews
42 Survey responses
8 Usability tests


When we conducted one on one interviews with Admin and Trustees, it was clear that the key archetype was the applicant. After some lengthy international phone calls with real past applicants (and those still awaiting their awards), we were beginning to see the journeys that the typical applicant was making in applying for an award. We did some affinity mapping combining all the insights we had gathered to establish the key issues, and then start to flesh out a Persona.

Affinity Mapping

Many of the actual applicants were positive about the look and feel of the existing website. However, after user testing with Academy Xi students, it was clear that there were pain points, particularly around the organisation of information on the site, and confusing terminology.

User Persona

A distinct persona emerged from our research:



Zoe is a nineteen year old university student in the UK in her second year. She really wants to help others while seeing a Project as a way of developing her own life skills. She is motivated and heavily influenced by her Catholic faith.

Customer Journey Map

Customer Journey Map

It was clear from mapping out Zoe's journey that the pain points were centred mainly around the following issues:

  • The form is too long and overwhelming.
  • The eligibility requirements are not clear and difficult to find.
  • The applicants have no way of knowing the progress status of their application.

MVP Matrix

As we started to build the matrix, we relied on development experience to identify a significant number of quick wins that could be quickly implemented to make the user experience so much better with little cost and development time.

Form development and account management, while more difficult to build was high value, and would be key to successful redevelopment and happy users.


Crazy Eights

We facilitated a "Crazy Eights" session with some students at Academy Xi as a way of ideating on how applicant might be able to save their applications and how they might apply for an award.

Researching and testing the application form

Based on this research we quickly coded two form types (accordion and tabbed) in HTML and the Bootstrap CSS framework, with the intention of doing some A/B testing to see the preferred format. Both received positive responses, however we found that the accordion form type was not really useable with large amounts of content, which made the tabbed format a clear winner.

We then carried out some further desktop research to find out how other organisations and websites handle lengthy forms.

Wireframing & Prototyping

How might we make the application and progress monitoring process easier for Zoe?

Starting with the app download screen, the user needs to decide if they are a multi-store or a store-front. We removed jargon and added progress bars to give the user visual assistance. We also removed the PDF and replaced with video content.

After going out and user testing the low fidelity prototypes we fleshed out some more defined prototype using a style guide and branding to present to the client.


Lo-fi prototyping

Using Figma, I created a low fidelity prototype that demonstrated the most valuable product - the form saving functionality and the application form itself. We went out and tested this on applicants to get some feedback and see what was working and what wasn't.

High fidelity prototyping

After some testing on high fidelity prototypes we found that users weren't able to see clearly how to submit the application, so we iterated on the design and re-tested on students at the Australian Catholic University.


Making a difference

The UX campaign highlighted some valuable insights and solutions to improve the website and application system for the user. In 2020 the client is hoping to implement some of these suggestions so that more users can successfully apply for financial support and make a difference in peoples' lives.

Project Challenges

Time differences made research challenging as over 75% of award applicants were based in the UK. This meant making phone calls between 12am and 5am to fit into times suitable for university students. Another problem was the apparent reluctance of applicants to criticise the process. The main reason for this was their age and difficulty to read true feelings over the phone, rather than face to face.

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