HSE Digital Roadmap: Transforming the online user experience for health

Published by Ben Cloney, UX Manager

HSE Digital Team website

As the digital team, we support the HSE’s mission to build a better health service, by ensuring that we offer an excellent user experience across all of our online channels.

Whether it’s a worried mother visiting, a smoker who wants to quit and sees our Facebook posts, or someone who starts a web chat with HSE Live because they don’t understand how the health service works – they all have different needs that we’re striving to meet.

From user feedback and research, we know our users are frequently frustrated. They’re not able to find the information they need or complete tasks quickly and easily.

The new HSE Digital Roadmap aims to change this.

Research and discovery

Our first step in developing the new roadmap was to map our digital ecosystem – the websites and social media channels we manage – and audit their performance. This helped us to see how vast and complicated our work has become.

We met with our users and developed personas, so we could understand their needs and expectations. We also consulted with staff and the leadership team, to find the space where our users’ needs and organisational goals meet.

We also looked at other public service organisations that are doing digital well, for example, GOV.UK and the NHS.

From our research, we discovered that:

  • 54% of people find our health service confusing
  • only 64% were satisfied with their online experience
  • there is no consistency to the user experience across our sites
  • there is no connection between our various sites
  • there are no agreed quality assurance processes, apart from ensuring information is accurate.

Clearly, we have work to do to improve our users’ online experience. We have already started to fix some of the problems and have developed our content guidelines and video guidelines that we are using to improve our content.

Digital transformation

The way we present information online reflects the Health Service's structure, teams and divisions, not our users' needs. We need to fix this. People should not need to understand the structure of the HSE to access information about the healthcare they need.

A major issue with our current approach is the fragmented nature of our digital footprint. We have information spread over 65 websites and micro-sites. A typical user journey can involve being bounced between several of these to get the information they need or to complete a task.

Under the new roadmap, rather than pushing our users between multiple websites, we will bring the information to them. For health information for the general public, we will focus on designing digital services on a single public-facing platform.

In order to develop a solution that meets the needs of our users and stakeholders, we will segment our digital experience network for health into three platforms for our core user groups:

  1. Patients, service users and public
  2. Health service staff
  3. Corporate, stakeholder and professional users

Digital Experience Network Graphic

Image: The solution – a digital experience network for health

As we transform our public site we will make the information easy to understand and easy to navigate. This will help patients and service users complete their tasks quickly and have a positive online experience with the health service.

The roadmap outlines how we will meet our users’ needs. By doing this, we will support them to better understand and navigate the health service.

The HSE Leadership Team has endorsed the roadmap so we can now begin the mammoth task of transforming the online user experience for health. We have already started improving our content and the first major improvements to how we make that information easy to find and easy to navigate will be accessible in April this year.

Download the HSE Roadmap