We were asked by the Department of Health and Social Care and Skills for Care to conduct the user research for the Alpha phase work on a prospective workforce hub for people working in adult social care.
Acting on recommendations from our thorough Discovery, the Department wanted to explore the idea of a professional community for people working in adult social care in England that could be used to increase recognition of the sector.
Our service designer and user researchers formed part of a multi-disciplinary team of designers, developers, delivery managers and service owners.
The team ensured that the user needs identified during the Discovery phase were at the heart of our work and decision-making: helping to frame the hypotheses of the Alpha phase and closely informing the interaction design and content prototypes that were produced throughout.
We engaged with a range of users across the adult social care sector, from care workers to kitchen assistants, registered managers to operations directors.
We conducted remote co-design workshops to explore potential design ideas, and concept feedback sessions to gather feedback on the resulting prototypes. We also carried out a series of short interviews to gather feedback on suitable names for this prospective service.
Recruitment for this project was particularly challenging. Many of the users we needed to speak to, particularly those in caregiving roles, are at the forefront of the response to the Covid-19 pandemic and understandably had other priorities at the time of the research.
We were however able to speak to some of these users, thanks to participants in other roles (for example area managers and care managers) acting as gatekeepers and identifying people within their organisations who were able to engage with our research.
The project concluded with the service team successfully completing a service assessment undertaken by NHSX.
The prospective service is now looking to proceed into a Private Beta phase to build on the work completed during the Alpha and ensure its feasibility as a meaningful service for those working in adult social care.