Entrepreneurially Audacious

November 9, 2017   |   Craig Strydom

A Massive Challenge For Blue Water

Hailed the most start-up friendly accelerator on the planet, Boston-headquartered MassChallenge is a not for profit organization with a singular, albeit audacious focus, to help startups win without taking equity. Essentially, MassChallenge envisions a creative and inspired society in which everyone recognizes that they can define their future and are empowered to maximize their impact. To help achieve this lofty goal, MassChallenge partnered with ‘experience’ agency Blue Water for a website refresh and ‘replatform’ to the Drupal content management system (CMS). In addition, MassChallenge needed help with messaging creation and implementation.

MassChallenge’s website needs were multifold. With offices as far flung as Israel, UK, Switzerland, Mexico, Boston and Texas, not to mention a global audience, certain geographical considerations were necessary when devising the Information Architecture (IA). In addition, unlike most organizations with clearly defined primary, secondary and tertiary audiences, MassChallenge has three primary audiences, symbiotically connected in both process and structure. These are, in no particular order, startups, partners and investors.

As a result, Blue Water created journey maps to help inspire a redesign that allows for several entry points. Using a self-selector functionality, audiences are greeted with two immediate user path options. One, to choose which geographic sub-site they would prefer to visit; two, to self-identify by audience, be it start up, partner or investor. With a necessary cross-pollination of information, the site design and IA allows users to traverse the different verticals of the site (startup, partner, investor) with ease.

To help further reinforce the strategy of allowing audiences to always know where they are in the information-seeking process, a strategically placed hamburger menu opens up into a mega menu. The choice of a mega menu – as opposed to, for example, a vertical sliding navigation – was intentional. Mega menus differ from normal menus in that they expand wider, usually containing multiple columns of content. “A mega menu works well if used judiciously,” said Blue Water Executive Vice President, Matt Sarro, “but only if you have enough content to justify using it, and in situations where the user might need an immediate overview of where they are at any given moment on the site – including in their cognitive process.”

Further, to achieve the goal of not talking only about themselves, MassChallenge asked for ways to reflect their audiences in their various user paths. Working with the client, Blue Water devised messaging to do just that. Strategically identifying startups as being “entrepreneurially audacious” and reflecting their level of “unbridled enthusiasm” coupled with a “risk-taking” ethos, Blue Water devised a messaging campaign that put startups front and center. The resultant messaging permeates the user experience at all touch points, building both the brand and allowing the audience to connect with MassChallenge.

In the past seven years, MassChallenge has accelerated over 1,000 startups, itself raising an audacious amount of over 1.8 billion in funding, generating more than $700 million in revenue, and creating 60,000 direct and indirect jobs. The new Blue Water-designed and developed website bears testament to this remarkable achievement.


Blue Water has created and developed more than 100 websites on the Drupal platform. Our deep understanding of Drupal is punctuated by our close partnership with Acquia, the leading cloud hosting platform built specifically for Drupal. Contact us to find out more about how the combined expertise of Blue Water and the Acquia cloud for Drupal can supercharge your web and mobile presence.