Ian Potter Foundation

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How we used our UX playbook to improve the grant seeker’s application process when applying for grants with the Ian Potter Foundation.

Project Overview

The Ian Potter Foundation came to us with two challenges:

  • To better understand their website content’s performance, and
  • To develop a deep understanding of the needs of their sites end users by identifying their key motivations, objectives and pain points.

Ultimately, our goal was to help the Ian Potter Foundation give grant seekers the best chance of success by directing them through the website in order to apply for the most appropriate funding rounds.

IPF Book Mockup Spread

The Client

The Client

Ian Potter Foundation is one of Australia’s oldest philanthropic foundations supporting purpose-driven projects across the country in Science & Health, Arts & Culture. 

Established in1964 by Australian financier, businessman and philanthropist, Sir Ian Potter (1902 – 1994) whose vision to encourage excellence and enable innovation by supporting not for profits is still in operation today.

The Ian Potter grants program supports talented Australian social entrepreneurs, visionaries, academics, scientists and researchers, artists and teachers who are committed to creating “a vibrant, healthy, fair and sustainable Australia” for all.

Their Challenge

Their Challenge

Philanthropic funding criteria and language varies broadly across the industry, which can make the process for creating and submitting grant applications difficult, time consuming and confusing for grant seekers. 

For the team at the IPF phone and email enquiries take up a huge part of their day, as grant seekers make contact seeking clarification on the qualifying information set out in the application. The team also wanted to better understand how site content was performing to gauge whether the basic needs of their visitors were being met in order for them to understand, select and apply for the relevant grant applications.


The Solution

As part of this engagement with the Ian Potter Foundation we delivered a high level UX Recommendation Report.

The report outlined the key insights gathered during the discovery phase, which included a workshop with Ian Potter Foundation staff and listening sessions with current grant seekers. It also included a content review (heuristic analysis) to identify areas of the website that were under performing or difficult to understand. 

A detailed list of UX recommendations and tangible next steps provided within the report enabled the IPF digital team to visualise a set of tasks that would help improve the end users experience. It also gave them assurance that the direction of the website was the right one with the report acting as a valuable resource for future planning and strategy discussions with the board.

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Our Process

UX Talk

"We interviewed a broad range of grant seekers as part of this UX research and discovery project. Once insights were gathered Trello was used to synthesise the findings and identify the core research themes - which added a lot of efficiency." 

Rachel Kelly - UX/UI Designer - Ex Rummikub Pro

Team member

Rachel Kelly - UX/UI Designer - Ex Rummikub Pro

Read UX Process
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UX process

Our approach to this UX discovery project started with a workshop with Stakeholders, from here we moved into listening sessions with real end users which allowed us develop a series of user journey maps before we completed a structured content audit and analysis of the current website. Applying these UX methodologies enabled us to uncover quality user-led insights which inform the findings of our UX recommendation report.


Data Gathering - Listening Sessions

A short bike ride to the Ian Potter head quarters located at the Paris end of Collins Street ensured we arrived alert and ready for a full day of 1on1 Listening sessions. Individual listening sessions were scheduled with four Not-for-Profit Grant Seeker's and hosted at the Ian Potter Foundation head office. 

These one-on-one sessions gave us the opportunity to dive deeper into user research asking Grant Seeker's to provide insight into:

  • The Organisation’s background 
  • Their roles and responsibilities 
  • Projects they’ve been involved in that required funding
  • Their decision making process when researching Funders to apply to
  • What their funding application process looks like  


Data Gathering - Stakeholder Workshop

The workshop was deemed a success at the close of the session when it was revealed no tech faults or flickering lights in the meeting room is a silent nod of approval from Ian Potter himself. This confirmed to us that the preparation we’d completed in the days leading up to the session had ensured that key themes were covered and conversations were free flowing throughout the morning.


Data Visualisation - User Journey Mapping

Insights gathered from the data gathering sessions with stakeholders and grant seekers allowed us to form a deeper understanding of the end users needs including the various starting points to which a grant seeker sets out on their journey to apply for funding.

Journey maps were developed as a data visualisation tool to showcase the process of the four most common user journeys. These maps depicted the step by step decision making process taken by grant seekers starting with a research phase grant seekers spent time identifying appropriate funding rounds this followed by discussions with program funding mangers to ensure that the not for profit's project met the grant criteria. This highlighted the importance of grant seekers understanding the grant criteria and qualifying information quickly as the process of creating a grant application takes time and resources so to be sure they qualify is an important part of the process.


Content Audit and Heuristic Analysis

In order to create a thorough UX Recommendations report, a content audit of the current Ian Potter Foundation was an important component of the project. Applying principles from Jakob Neilsen’s 10 Usability Heuristics for User Interface Design philosophy our Heuristic Analysis revealed a detailed list of recommendations and opportunities for our client to consider. 

Suggested improvements included:

  • Improving language consistency throughout the website
  • Adding clear calls to action on each page 

The findings form the heuristics analysis were ranked in priority of low, medium, a high ranking indicating a change and opportunity that would have a significant impact to the end users experience.


Creating user journey maps.
Creating user journey maps.
An example of a Heuristic Analysis.
An example of a Heuristic Analysis.
Cycling into our session at Ian Potter Foundation were a great way to start the day.
Cycling into our session at Ian Potter Foundation were a great way to start the day.
Synthesising User Research in Trello made identifying key themes fast and efficient.
Synthesising User Research in Trello made identifying key themes fast and efficient.

UX Summary

We use a variety of UX techniques to uncover and apply user led insights to the solutions we create and deliver.

Discover more about the UX services we offer by clicking on the button below.


UX Research tasks delivered as part of this engagement:

  • Listening sessions with end users
  • Stakeholder workshop
  • User Journey Mapping
  • Content Audit
  • Heuristic Analysis
  • UX recommendations report

Key Takeaways

We found sitting down with our client to talk them through the Neilson Normal Heuristic Analysis terminology hugely beneficial. This not only helped with their understanding but also enabled them to share the findings of the report more confidently with internal stakeholders.

Synthesising our user insights in Trello allowed us to quickly identify research key themes, it also acted as a research repository which made it easy to reference insights and quotes throughout the project.