The Challenge

Anthony Nolan is a blood cancer charity that recruits individuals to its stem cell register to support the organisation.

The charity needed to improve their sign up process to improve the quantity and quality of registrations. The existing process provided a very generic experience for users which wasn't related to the original call-to-action. The form itself was dated, not engaging enough and wasn't optimised for use across different devices. Failing to meet the expectations of their young target audience was having a direct effect on the number and quality of donors registering.

In addition, to fulfil rare patient matches, the sign-up form needed to attract specific users, defined by gender and ethnicity, more than other user-types.

Our approach was revolutionise the way Anthony Nolan engaged with its users online. Creating themed campaigns, based on flexible templates, meant the users' online journey could be tailored based on their initial interaction with the brand. This consistent journey, combined with a more user-friendly registration form, will result in a more user-focused experience and ultimately higher conversions.

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What We Did

Discovery and Behavioural Analysis

Working with a team of stakeholders from across the organisation, we undertook a comprehensive study of the project. This crucial stage in the project enabled the objectives and goals of the organisation to be clearly defined, as well as identifying the perceived wants, needs and pain points of the various user-types.

A series of UX techniques were used to define the optimum user experience, explore user profiles and map the tasks and processes.

Initial stakeholder research, gathered through an all-day workshop, was collated, analysed and further developed to produce a series of user personas, goals, tasks and scenarios.

Techniques used

  • Stakeholder discovery workshop
  • Card sorting – content / process flow workshop
  • Persona development
  • Goal definition
  • Task mapping
  • User scenario development


Structure and Content

Armed with a greater understanding of users from the discovery research, the activities during this phase were used to plan content hierarchies and plot user flows.

These outcomes were then used, together with UX best practice trends, to map the numerous possible user journeys from various incoming sources. Both successful and failed journey outcomes were considered.  This meant that even if a donor wasn't eligible to register, their journey was carefully managed to keep them engaged.

Techniques used

  • Information architecture
  • Interaction map
  • User journeys


Skeletal Design - Wireframe prototype

Using specialist software, we developed low-fidelity wireframes that defined and prioritised content. By generating these highly adaptable wireframes, the proposed design could be evolved through a series of rapid iterations. The wireframes were then transformed into interactive prototypes for usability testing on both desktop and mobile.

Techniques used

  • Static wireframes – desktop and mobile
  • Interactive wireframe prototype - desktop and mobile


Prototype Testing

To eliminate any guesswork from the proposed solution, we initiated usability testing of the prototypes based on a defined set of realistic user tasks, scenarios and journeys. Informative and insightful feedback, ranked by severity, was cycled back to stakeholders to evaluate alongside their own business objectives.

A variety of techniques were used to obtain the feedback on the prototypes. All research outcomes were collated in a report by DotLabel, then shared and discussed via a stakeholder workshop.

Techniques used

  • User testing
  • User feedback interviews
  • Testing findings report
  • Stakeholder workshop


Concept Designs

Whilst the form was the main call-to-action, we recognised that there were opportunities to optimise the user journey before the users even reached the form. We developed campaign concepts designed to give users a consistent end-to-end journey from the initial interaction with the online ads, through to the campaign landing pages and then onto the registration form itself.

For example, when a user clicked on a Facebook ad starring celebrity Towie's Bobby Norris, the landing page continues the theme with consistent imagery, tone and messaging, finally the user is then guided to the registration form. The flexible campaign framework was designed to ensure that the charity would have full control to produce additional themed campaigns in the future.  Smart call-to-actions were also incorporated to ensure that users were taken on the most relevant user journeys.


Pre-registration and post-registration digital UX ideas

In addition to developing the simplified registration form and designing the user-centred campaign concept, we also presented a range of additional ideas to help increase donor numbers beyond the registration process. Our innovative approach led us to generate ideas using a variety of digital marketing techniques, including the use of QR codes to pre-populate forms and using NFC chips to track testing kits.

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The Outcome

Re-structuring the form’s content enabled greater data visibility highlighting additional obstacles being faced by some applicants and hindering their positive experience. This enabled agile, iterative improvements, such as:

• Adding strategically placed ‘Calls-to-action’ in the journey to yield a 30% rise in diverting users from primary to secondary journeys
• Changes to supportive reassurance messaging has yielded a 7% rise in applicants continuing
• A reduction of mandatory data requests has resulted in a 30% rise in applicants continuing without affecting donor quality.
• Improved validation has saved the charity donated funds by reducing the number of undeliverable swab kits.

Since launch, with roughly the same number of applicants, data suggests an actual rise of 16% of ‘quality’ donor applications.


DotLabel have been instrumental in the design and UX for our new Online Donor Application form. Working with DotLabel has been a great experience for Anthony Nolan. Charlie and the team have been totally engaged with us through the process.

Rebecca Pritchard, Anthony Nolan Online Recruitment Lead.