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Digital transformation through user centred design (The Times)

In this piece published in The Times newspaper (linked below), our NHS work on mental health is used as a case study on how to involve users in digital transformation.

There are so many ways a service can unintentionally be made hard to use, confusing or ineffective for the people who need to access it that the chances of getting it right without involving users in transformation are slim to zero. When you consider the number of people accessing public services, you realise that even a small change to the way something works or is communicated, based on user insight, can make a service significantly more usable and useful for hundreds of thousands of people.

User-centred design is essential to transformation because it can mean the difference between people using or abandoning new or updated services.

By involving users in the discovery process and throughout transformation we make sure services are solving the right problems for the organisation and the users. Clear insight into user needs makes it possible to prioritise features and functionality so that budgets can be used effectively. We eliminate the risk of developing complex and expensive functionality that has little value to the users.

Public and commercial services need to work for everyone and testing designs with people with low digital skills or accessibility needs, means we can design services that do this. User centred design means we think about all users, not just people who are confident with technology and have the latest kit.

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In the article, Tim Clarke, Head of Transformation at NHS Gloucestershire argues that UCD should be a fundamental part of any digital transformation:

“We wouldn’t release a piece of technology without testing if it functioned or was secure, as it’s a big risk,” he says. “However, it’s as big a risk to spend time, money and energy on building something that isn’t wanted or people wouldn’t use. Investment in user-centred design practices reduces the risk of building the wrong thing in the first place.”

Read the full article as printed in The Times:
Digital transformation through user centred design

Read a shorter version online:
Raconteur - How to put users at the heart of digital transformation

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