Product/UX and Design

‘The general public’ – how to identify who your users are when your brand is a national treasure

Working at Comic Relief has challenges unlike any I’ve experienced in previous roles at startups or agencies. When working in other roles, I’ve known exactly who our ‘target market’ are, what traits our users have and what we believed their biggest needs were, but how do you identify your core user groups when your brand is a national treasure?

Our product squad are currently working on one of our Comic Relief’s flagship products;, and I wanted to share an update on what we’re up to and how we’re tackling this (very nice to have) problem!

Our product vision

Stable, responsive and interactive website which provides users with relevant and engaging content.

The first part of our vision is about the stability of our website – and we’re confident that we’ll achieve this by using the Drupal 8 platform we developed for this year (see Peter Vanhee’s post on that here). The second part of our vision is specifically about the quality of content on our site, and to deliver this, we need to identify who our users actually are.

Before moving forward with our migration from the current Drupal 7 site, we wanted to ensure we weren’t missing any user groups who may wish to visit – to do this, we set up a workshop for our product squad to fill in the gaps.

Identifying Comic Relief’s users

The workshop was designed to allow our team to answer questions which would help ensure that our content migration process to Drupal 8 would also optimize our content architecture to best serve our users. It would also drive out many fresh assumptions for us to validate.

1. Who is the user?

2. Why do they come to

3. Which content is relevant to them?

4. Which content topics have crossover for interested user groups and how do we prioritise which user group we should optimize for?

Taking a step back to establish exactly who uses the website was the foundation of our workshop. We found that we can roughly break down our site visitors into 3 user groups;


General public / donors – still awfully broad but further questions would narrow this down – we know that a huge number of our users are people who have contributed to our campaigns (Red Nose Day and Sport Relief).

What content is most relevant to them?

Our general public users want to see where their money goes, checking in on progress from the projects and beneficiaries they may have seen highlighted on our big TV events. Based on the user behaviour on our site, these users may also expect to find our ‘campaign content’ which is hosted on or respectively.


Grantees / Potential grantees – as well as the general public who want to learn about the projects we fund, the charities themselves find out about our grants initiatives and apply via

What content is most relevant to them?

Grantees will visit our site in a mix of due-diligence on their part and also finding out practical information to start the application process. As well as seeing which other projects we fund, potential grantees can identify if their project would qualify for an existing grants initiative.


Professionals – there are a few different professionals who are required within their roles to look up information about Comic Relief – this would include journalists, teachers and job seekers.

What content is most relevant to them?

These users may have cross over with the other two groups but their visiting habits reflect that they are seeking specific information rather than browsing. For journalists this may be coming to the website for a press release or to find out more about our board members. For teachers we provide learning resources for the classroom in order to join up the Comic activity of our campaigns with the Relief the money raised provides.

So, what do you do once you (kind of) know who your users are?

Once we identified these groups, we could see that our current content structure was not clear to these different groups; Who we are, What we do, Support us and Our grants were sections of the website which were not clearly defined for the relevant users. They also had a lot of cross over content which could be applicable to any section title.

These assumptions from the workshop were also supported through remote user testing with users who would be classed as ‘General Public’ users of the site. In order to make a couple of quick wins in the content migration project, we’ll be testing new content structures with our other user groups too – making sure that grantees, professionals and the general public are all able to find the content that’s relevant to their needs.

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