Adspur Calendar

Adspur Calendar



The client

The client

Adspur is a startup founded in 2013 and based in London who are aiming to build a calendar for the industry of award shows around the world.

The client


Try to clearly layout multiple date types in the calendar when a user can follow over 30-40 different competitions, as well as adding clear "tool-tip" style information about each date event.

The client


Adspur have a real competitive advantage being the only award calendar in the industry gathering key information about hundreds of award shows around the world. Their goal is to keep that advantage making it clearer and easier to use.

The client

Key Business metrics

Increase the number of basic users converting to pro accounts through clear, simple design, but also value the free users as the more people can be attracted to the calendar, the more appeal it has to the competitions themselves.

The client


Competitive analysis, Surveys & Interviews, Empathy maps, Personas, Participatory design, Design Studio, Task analysis, Task affinity, Sitemaps, User Journeys, Sketches, Wireframes, Mockups, Presentation.

The client


Sharpies, post-it, Omnigraffle, Sketch, Marvel app, InVision, Illustrator, Photoshop, Keynote.


The aim of our research was to discover what the market as a whole looked like but more importantly who we would be designing for.

Discovery & Research

Competitive analysis

As a starting point we completed a business analysis, to understand Adspur’s key features.

We identified their competitors and looked at what differentiated them against Adspur’s service. We started seeing that none of them currently offer a calendar feature but they did meet the basic functions of providing key information about awards through search or list but with a lot of manual labour (putting a heavy workload on the user).


To begin our research we carried out a survey, to gain an understanding of how people manage/plan event schedules, what tools they use and what is important to them through when carrying out their main tasks. Although our response was not very high, the quality of our answers was very strong and we were happy that 47% of our responses worked in advertising which was our main target audience.

Key Insights

Some key insights from our survey are the following:

  • 76% of participants selected accurate information as the most important factor when following award competitions. - they needed to know information was reliable and trustworthy.
  • 44% of participants currently do not use any online tools to keep track of the awards industry. - A big percentage validating the current gap in the market.
  • 83% of participant use desktop devices as their main platform to keep track of their events calendar - A great insight of what kind of device we would focus our design on.

User Interviews + Key Quotes

We then proceeded to move into our interview phase various participant including 3 Adspur pro users but also basic and new potential users.


Some of the key quotes from our interviews are:

“The calendar needs to be intuitive, something familiar so I don’t have to re-learn how to use it”
“When I look at my calendar, the most important thing is to find information quickly”

Survey Key Findings

So something we need to dig deeper from our survey was that if 44% of our survey participants weren’t using any online tools to track awards, what are they using? - we needed to find out! So here’s what we found from our interviews….

  • They weren’t currently using an online tool because their needs were simply met by paper & pen. Some of them even mentioning diaries.
  • All of our participants had in common they still used an excel spreadsheet to keep track of their awards data.
  • They were simply using their personal calendar to keep track of events schedule
  • And finally some had an internal database to communicate with their team upcoming award dates/information.


We created three different personas to represent specific user group type based on our research:

Persona Enrica Enrica is a marketing assistant at a small engineering company from London her background is in communication.
Persona Enrica Claire is an Entrepreneur who aspires to set up her own pr agency and has a background in Marketing.
Persona Enrica David is a VP of creative direction at a design company with a strong background in computer science.

User Journey

For our design we decided to focus on Enrica as she represented the main user type that use Adspur on a frequent basis. So once we understood who we were designing for we needed to come up with some design solutions that would really help and solve Enrica’s pain points.

User journey

Task Analysis

Task analysis


Participatory Design

For our design studio we wanted to involve our clients in the design process to generate ideas that would be in line with their current solutions but also get some input from the development team.

Design Studio
Design Studio

Feature Prioritisation

After carrying out a feature analysis we took our shortlist of solutions to user’s problems and asked the Adspur team to identify which ones were the most important and needed to be included in our design.
This was a fun exercise to see which features were at the top of their list and useful for us to make sure we were headed in the right direction still meeting our brief.

Design Studio
Design Studio

Paper Prototyping

We needed to test our design early so we started with paper prototyping to get initial feedback.
We found that the interface was still too complex with…

  • Too many options: 
(Print, sync, share, edit…)
  • Search information having to jump to other pages i.e. the nav was too distracting
  • The colour hierarchy was not clear..



Iterations 1

We then took our feedback and implemented some changes:

  • Simplifying the interface with less options
  • Moving the colour legend from the bottom to the top and made it interactive giving the possibility to click on a color and filter all the events depending on the colour selected. This solved our date conflict..
  • We removed the search button in the left menu and added advanced search functionalities in the right sidebar.
  • Splitted the right sidebar in two tabs to manage the general and the customised information.

Wireframes (iterations 2)

We then took our design into digital wireframes and tested again with more users. From our feedback we improved some of the following functionalities:

  • Overview of events
  • Key Dates
  • Setting alerts
  • Comments
  • Profile page
  • Website link (direct links)



So following our user’s journey:

  • We implemented a welcome dashboard
  • Integrated the contextual search +filter options (tool-tip)
  • We added different calendar views ( Month, Week 3 Day View)
  • Following awards quickly + access information (profile + website links)

  1. Dashboard
  2. The main purpose for including a dashboard was that we found users struggled to understand the current flow and how to navigate the current features. Through the Dashboard, users can login having a customised welcome message as a starting point and follow the order of the navigation. They would see what awards they’re following, what are the recommendations based on their choices and what awards are trending. These features solving the need to have a central point of new and upcoming events to reduce her research.

  3. Calendar
  4. Now users can see the month view to begin with and they would be able to discover awards in one place. Being able to add them into her calendar would reduce a lot of time and make her job much easier… Here we can see she is searching for an event through the discover awards, they would search awards by countries and select United Kingdom and follow an award.
    They would find that by following the award it will appear straight away in their calendar….

  5. Calendar views
  6. (Month, week and three day view).
    One of Adspur user’s pain points was that she would not miss any deadlines but also be aware of what is on in the industry, we added an “All Events feature” that would allow her to see if she’s missed any important dates but also be aware what else is going on outside her calendar.
    As you can see she would select the filter and the missing events would appear for her to see…

  7. Quick view and hover feature
  8. For our users was extremely important to view the key dates without having to go to any other pages. They would hover over a specific event and immediately see the key dates.
    By clicking "See" the right hand box would open.. giving access to a partial view of the event and award key dates, alerts so they can remind themselves of what is going on and add any personal or private notes.
    For Adspur users it’s very important to have access to the Award websites so we made sure to include the profile page of the award where can access more information but also visit the website if she’s still unsure about any information.
    Let’s see how she would view the award profile page…
    They can go back to their calendar and once they're happy they finally can export all the information about the event including the private notes for PDF, Excel, Outlook and iCal. Making sure her other systems and reports are updated.

Next Steps

As for the next steps we would make sure to include sync or calendar integration so her information updates seamlessly. We would split the new functionalities to be accessible not just for pro accounts but basic also i.e: Week view, 3 days view, day view, alerts & export data only accessible from the Pro account but month account accessible to basic users.

Create tablet and mobile versions making our design responsive
Improve and extend the functionalities in the dashboard giving to the user more customisation options and improve their Adspur experience. And now Dan will give us a quick summary and wrap up our presentation...


So overall… if we look back at the brief Adspur originally came to us with..
As a result of our research we have met the goals of our main users by re-designing the calendar to be more interactive, engaging and improving some of the core features focusing on usability.
We have solved Enrica’s needs by making her job much easier reducing her workload and allowing her plan more efficiently but ultimately to create a positive impact at her company enabling them to have a bigger chance to win awards.


Latest prototype version here

  • Team: D. Abreu, I. Jacquot, W. Trovato.
  • Client: Adspur
  • Date: October 2015
  • Service: UX Design