Transformation weekly review – issue six, Friday, 26 June 2015

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Welcome to the latest Transformation weekly review, our sixth instalment detailing the work in NHS Choices Transformation. This week, the conditions squad have been busy user testing and the Scaling and Integration Alpha have been looking at their mission statement for sprint four. The Services squad are planning their next discovery, and are keen to talk to users as soon as possible to understand their needs when accessing NHS Services. Finally, the Technology Enablers squad have begun their work on sprint six, which is aiming to make the search service more user friendly.

Conditions squad

The conditions squad have had a busy week across a number of different areas. The team were particularly pleased to engage in some user research in the new NHS Choices studio room. We will be feeding back on our user research, which featured work on cold and flu, as well as norovirus and food poisoning.

This week the squad also met with members of the clinical team to discuss what alpha had so far achieved, and to get their buy-in for progressing to a public alpha.

To measure our progress, we have also created dashboard across conditions. This will enable us to look at a number of metrics and data and ensure we’re able to report back and fine tune our learnings.

Scaling and Integration Alpha

The Scaling and Integration Alpha finished sprint three on Wednesday. We are delighted that, despite limited resource in the team, our key goal of demonstrating an initial linked patient journey from conditions content through to NHS services was delivered.  The patient journey encompasses geo-location and contextualisation, allowing users to find their nearest pharmacy or find their GP details and gives the functionality to ‘remember’ them.  Any content that directs patients to contact their GP or get medicines from a pharmacy will present this information direct to users.

Sprint four continues to extend this user journey and build on some of the hypothesis from the user journey mapping around NHS service referral. The squad’s goal for sprint four is: “Enable conditions squad to go live with alpha content and build user journey for NHS Services referral from within conditions content.”

In addition to completing sprint three and planning for sprint four, the squad has also cleared a number of backlog items, including:

  • migrating alpha sites from to an alternative domain
  • implementation of breadcrumb navigation across alpha site content pages
  • refined user journey designs for patients with saved service details from within content
  • add context specific out of hours GP information
  • update UI toolkit to provide header version for ‘live’ conditions content
  • create a prototype of “local NHS” page

Services squad

This week the Services squad has been thinking about what we might like to discover next. Our initial plan, alongside a Dental alpha, was to focus on a single service (for example, GPs or pharmacies) and plan a discovery around that. However, we quickly realised that there’s a lot we need to find out before being able to narrow down to a particular service or theme.

We created a dedicated Trello board and shared workspace for planning a future discovery and began some preliminary desk research around services. This included increasing our understanding of the NIB framework and how that might affect our work; compiling service usage stats and points of access for patients; identifying key stakeholder contacts and learning more about related work being undertaken. To this end, Tori Hunt (Content Designer) was pleased to be able to attend the latest NHS 111 digital product demo at Valtech on Tuesday. This could have a significant impact on the way users access and are referred to services online. Tori was particularly impressed with the lean UX experiment map they were using to track their alpha work.

On Wednesday, Chris Marshall (Research Manager) attended an assisted digital assessor training session at GDS. The training was really helpful and provided lots of guidance on how to involve users with assisted digital needs. It was also useful to understand how the GDS assessors carry out their assisted digital assessments on service teams. These GDS training slides are well worth a read, and we plan to write a separate blog on assisted digital soon.

We’re really keen to start talking to users as soon as possible about what their needs are when navigating NHS services, and also find out from service stakeholders what their priorities are. Please do come and talk to us with any thoughts or questions you may have – we’d love to hear from you.

Technology Enablers squad

The Technology Enablers squad have begun work on sprint six, which will focus on making the search service more user friendly. Work has also begun on improving the intelligence behind the search, such as place name disambiguation, and ‘did you mean’ functionality. Additionally, search suggestions now use the ‘search enhancement service’ as per the live site, which gives the user an improved range of suggestions and ties into the existing ontology.

Over the past week, the squad have worked hard to include more organisations in the search results. This has seen the number of organisations included increase from 59,000 to 70,000.

Work has begun on performance testing and scaling, test scripts have been produced and were executed in ‘Blazemeter’. Some errors have been found which the infrastructure team are looking into.

Additional work has been done to integrate the ‘UI Toolkit’ into the build process, it now means code can be shared between squads, which cuts down the number of copies of code. Finally, we have implemented improved scoring profiles for the videos index to produce more relevant search results for the user.

If you have any further questions about #TransformChoices please don’t hesitate to message us in the box below.

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