Usability testing for the NHS Commissioning Zone

We have just presented the results of a new usability study to the team at Primary Care Commissioning (PCC) who are responsible for the Commissioning Zone website. The Commissioning Zone is a website aimed at clinical commissioners.  It features links to a collection of information (reports, guidance, toolkits etc) to support clinical commissioning and is part of the suite of resources via NHS Networks.

The team at PCC came to us in November and asked us to help them test the site with a sample of their target audience.  We recruited a group of 12 clinical commissioners and other professionals involved in commissioning and ran a day of hands-on testing of the website.

The study answered these three questions:

  • Are users able to easily accomplish their tasks?
  • Do the designs adequately convey the key communication messages?
  • Can users make use of key websites features and functions to help them accomplish tasks?

The tests involved us working through a set of real-life scenarios with participants, e.g.

You work as a Commissioner in a Mental Health Trust and have been asked to give a short presentation to a multidisciplinary team, to summarise the current range of tools available to commissioners who are looking to improve services for people with dementia.

You start from the Commissioning Zone website. 

What questions would you have and what type of information would you be looking for to help?

Participants told us what information they would be looking for given this scenario and then tried to answer their questions via the Commissioning Zone.

The tests generated lots of useful data, some of it qualitative (what people said they thought of the design) and some quantitative (our measurements of task completion rates).

We used this data to write up a set of recommendations that were presented to the PCC team, along with a set of test videos showing the full sessions with participants looking at the website.

These recommendations will be used to improve the Commissioning Zone over coming months.

As always with our usability studies, we have had very positive feedback from the client:

You should have the satisfaction of seeing your recommendations swiftly adopted, and I hope we’ll have the satisfaction of seeing traffic volumes and stickiness increase.

Thanks again for a good job carried out efficiently, on time and tactfully – all of which are much appreciated.

Category: Portfolio