Community Genetics: How the design process helps the NHS.

Sometimes a client knows where they want to get to but doesn’t know how. The designer is the sat-nav that gets them to their destination.

The initial design stages enabled the Community Genetics team to structure what they wanted to say. The target group was the families who were most prone to develop genetic conditions but it was also to inform other health professional so that they might recognise if a family needed help. The lively round-table sessions helped us work out what issues were important and where they fitted within the site. We also had to think about the “tone” of the text as genetic disorders are generally not talked about in the communities most affected.

It took quite a few months to develop the final structure, mostly spent on getting feedback, then testing, then revising. There were issues with the terminology because much of it is quite technical especially with words like genes, DNA and chromosomes but what are the alternatives? To make it less of a barrier we used tool-tips, FAQs, animated diagrams and Meanings & Definitions to help people gain an insight to see if they recognised any of the issues.

So, there are many pathways a person can progress through the website but they all lead to helping them making contact. Once in contact with the team, then help, advice and reassurance can be given and if needed, they can be referred to specialists who, we hope, can make a big difference as seen in the amazing testimonials.



Project Leader: Roge at D&AW