Smashing Assumptions Through User Testing Doc Ready

Posted by on Jul 25, 2013 in Workshops
Smashing Assumptions Through User Testing Doc Ready

From the beginning, Doc Ready has run a series of engagement workshops, collaborating with young people from all over Brighton and Hove to develop its functionality, look and feel. We began with user insight workshops and followed this with paper prototyping to come up with a functional spec for a first technical development sprint. For this sprint, we were working with what we’d heard in these workshops, but wanted to make sure that what we were building was still correct.

This is where user testing comes in. The Doc Ready team took the first iteration of the actual digital tool back to the young people we have worked with. And this time we even invited a few extra people who have never heard of Doc Ready to get a fresh pair of eyes on what we were building.

The user testing workshop took place in Brighton where we had about 20 people take part, including people from Right Here, Mind Me Up and several local schools.

We showed the group the first iteration of the app, so they could test its usability and functionality across a range of different devices – from mobile to laptops and iPads. We also ran a questionnaire to find out what the group thought about the design and how they would like it to look and feel.

To test usability and functionality, we gave the group a fictional character and scenario, asking them to use the product to satisfy certain user goals. For example, they had to imagine it was their first experience going to a GP alone and they wanted to build a checklist of things to remember to say, such as ”I’m not sleeping well”.

The group facilitators observed how each person worked through these scenarios to see how they used it. But we also gave each person a capture sheet so they could note down the good, the bad and the ugly as they worked through the scenarios.

For the survey on the design of Doc Ready, we asked the group what kinds of apps and websites they liked, which apps and sites they liked the look of, what they thought of the original Doc Ready branding and what they would like to change. We also sent the survey out through Twitter, email and the Doc Ready blog, so people outside of the workshops could feedback on our approach.

Through the user testing process, one of our biggest assumptions was challenged. We thought that people would print out their checklist to take with them to their GP appointment. But over 70% of the group said that they would take the checklist just on their phone or handwritten, rather than print it out. We’ve since changed the design of Doc Ready to reflect this.

The group of young people were very savvy about digital design, what they like and how it makes them feel. The original Doc Ready layout used lots of boxes, but they felt that this was like putting everything in its place, so that they were being pigeon holed into certain categories. If you are already stressed out or depressed and people are putting you into boxes around that, you don’t want to be put in a box when using a website as well.

The language of Doc Ready has also changed. The group described the language as very “Big Brother” and they weren’t sure who was talking to them on the site. They felt like the language should be softer, more straightforward and sound like something they would say to each other in everyday life.

We’ve now changed things around so that the language the app uses prompts young people to use their own voice, rather than being an authority figure telling them what might be wrong with them. We’d like the Doc Ready app to be used and taken by young people to their GP visits, putting the young person in control of what they want to talk to the doctor about.

The next steps for us are to take the feedback gained through the user testing workshop and integrate these notes into the second development sprint of Doc Ready. We’ve reworked the brand and language the app uses too, based on the young people’s feedback. After this sprint, we’ll take the digital prototype back to the group to make sure that we’re still on track before making Doc Ready available to use in September.

All this feedback has been fantastic and we’re getting ever closer to launch. Exciting times!

Power to the young people – Engagement workshops

Posted by on May 23, 2013 in Workshops
Power to the young people – Engagement workshops

Over the month of April we traveled across Brighton & Hove getting young people involved in the design of Doc Ready. We ran workshops with the volunteers from Right Here Brighton, Allsorts Youth Project and Mind Me Up Group. The workshops saw young people come together with the designers of Doc Ready to co-design the product by exploring:

  • What do our potential users really want?
  • Is what we are building solving the problems of the potential users? 

The workshops main goal was to build up a picture of potential uses and wants the young people had for Doc Ready. It aimed to challenge assumptions, existing services, mindsets and current solutions. We used a simple card activity to stimulate discussion and highlight areas of importance with the use of Doc Ready and the content it should contain. We asked groups to put themselves in the shoes of fictional users to allow conversations to be steered away from personal desires and allow groups to work towards the same goal. 


As the activity progressed the cards built up a visual representation of potential uses of Doc Ready. The outcomes provided valuable insights into desired features and content to be developed. This has proved to us how valuable it is to design with people who represent potential users, while challenging any assumptions we had entering the project and helping to outline:

  • How potential users envisage using Doc Ready and why?
  • What content they want to access?
  • How and what medium they envisage using it on?
  • What information they would like to take in and away from a GP appointment?


The insights and ideas from these workshops informed the design of the prototypes used in the paper prototyping workshop we ran in April. (You can find out more about the process used on the day by reading our previous blog What is Paper Prototyping?). We gave the young people at the session free reign to adapt, add and delete features in the Doc Ready application to better meet the needs and wants of fictional potential users. We prompted them to consider:

  • How would the user navigate the product?
  • Which features will achieve their users’ goals best? What works well / what doesn’t?
  • How often would each feature be used?
  • How much time does it take to access each different feature?
  • How would the user prioritise the features on the paper prototype?

DSC_1695The outcomes of the workshop were then evaluated by the Doc Ready design team to prioritise the importance of features to be developed for an initial version. These features have now been consolidated into a single design known as the minimum viable product, a stripped back version of the Doc Ready application that satisfies the most important user goals. By building the minimum viable product we can involve users in testing to gather feedback at the earliest possible time, then develop the application further. User engagement is extremely important to the Doc Ready team as we are building a service with people for people.

Next week we’ll be talking about those all important workshop outcomes and the functionality being developed for the initial version of Doc Ready. Watch this space for news of the user testing workshops of the first digital version of Doc Ready coming soon. If you have any questions or comments about the process so far, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Doc Ready Gets Going!

Posted by on Mar 28, 2013 in Workshops
Doc Ready Gets Going!

Earlier this month, the newly assembled Doc Ready team squeezed into the Right Here Brighton & Hove offices to kick start the discovery phase of the design process, challenged with the question:

“How might we help young people make the most of mental health related GP visits?”

We were lucky enough to be joined by some of the Right Here volunteers to help start the user-led process. So, armed with sharpies and blank storyboards together we mapped out a GP consultation through the eyes of fictional personas. The insights painted a holistic picture of the service from a young persons perspective by looking at the process before, during and after a consultation. Amid the mess of chocolates, paper and suspect background music we had begun the project!


This was the first of a series of codesign workshops that will run over the next month or so. Here the findings from this initial activity will be explored further with the help of the young people from Brighton and Hove.

Thanks to the Right Here volunteers that joined us and we hope to see you again soon, along with many others!

Stay tuned to the blog for updates on the project and how to get involved…