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Demystifying the integration process for the NHS App
James Reith, Content Designer for the NHS App, explains how the NHS App integration team have improved their integration process to make it easier for partner services to innovate.
19 November 2020
A key principle of the NHS App is that it should be open to new ideas from a variety of sources. As Matthew Gould, NHSX Chief Executive, put it, we “create the right platform and let others innovate on it”.
But making that vision a practical reality for partners, while not undermining the usability of the app, requires a predictable, clear and user-centred integration process for partner services.
Initial attempts to integrate NHS partner services drew on a mix of overlapping, pre-existing NHS processes – for security, information governance and so on – as well as some tactical improvisation.
Getting the first partner service live had proved complex and had taken longer than expected. Something wasn’t working. We needed to find out what, and how to make it better.
Crucially, all of it assumed partners already wanted to integrate with the NHS App. Nowhere did we tell partners the benefit of doing so.
Designers often make a crude distinction between users and stakeholders. But our stakeholders are users too.
We also found that specific user types – chief executives, project managers, technical officers – needed different information before they could consider integrating.
From these interviews, we started to create a content strategy for our integration process.
We conducted 9 remote usability testing sessions with users from a range of roles – chief executives, product managers and developers – all of whom needed something from these webpages.
It took 3 further iterations to regroup the information so the different user types knew where to look.