Global Footprint Network

Global Footprint Network - Ecological Footprint Calculator low polygon half world graphic

Services: Storytelling + Brand, Product Innovation, Insights + Discovery, Nonprofit

Want to reach millions of users? Link strategy and design.

Over fifteen years ago we made the world-famous ecological footprint calculator for the Global Footprint Network (GFN). Since then, the non-profit organization has evolved, and so have their audience’s needs. We needed to explore ways to make the calculator even better so GFN could expand their reach, increase revenue, and leverage the calculator to create new partnerships and opportunities.



The calculator had 2 million users annually, but we knew nothing about them. We needed to get a better understanding of who, why, and how those users were engaging with the calculator. Where is it falling short? How can GFN deepen the engagement and sustain those relationships? What happens after users get their calculator results? After collecting data from numerous surveys and conducting user interviews, we began to see a way forward that was fun, playful, and solution focused.

Screenshot of original 2002 flash Ecological Footprint Calculator



Now with a clear understanding of the users and stakeholders, we designed three playful and immersive concepts that would eventually be narrowed down to one. As the selected direction evolved, we mapped out a user experience to encourage deeper engagement and meaningful actions such as sharing and giving. All key design decision were tethered to the current and future needs of the organization.

Early mockup for 2017 footprint calculator design direction



The fully developed concept, designs, and wireframes began to take life, delivering an immersive user journey through a modern geometrical polygon based world. We knew the significance of building something for mobile was paramount, but we also knew that mobile app downloads were no longer as prominent as they once were. Our decision was to build a fully-responsive web-based app using the latest technologies, allowing the product a life roadmap of performance and scalability.

Mobile Design for the new Global Footprint Network Ecological Footprint Calculator



Not only was the calculator a beautiful, future-forward design, but there was a dramatic increase in user engagement. In the first seven days after launch, GFN grew their email list by over 100,000 contacts. From August through December 2017, they saw another 700,000+ signups with a clear path for sustaining engagement. While everyone was ecstatic with the launch of a great product, we knew the work wasn’t done. Our recommended agile approach allowed us to collect feedback and prioritize building new features accordingly. We continued to add new micro-interactions, evolve contextual solutions and CTA’s, and support fledgling sponsorships that are now backing GFN’s cause.

New Global Footprint Network Ecological Footprint Calculator Designs