We were asked by Health Education England’s Genomics Education Programme to carry out user research into the usability of GeNotes – its new resource for educating healthcare practitioners about genomics in their practice.
The website provides educational information at the point of need, as well as opportunities for extended learning, to help healthcare professionals make the right genomics decisions at each stage of a clinical pathway.
We had carried out substantial user research to help get the resource to the private beta stage. The Genomics Education Programme wanted to get a better understanding of how it would work in practice for clinicians and to identify any opportunities to improve the user experience.
Our programme of user research was split into three sprints, each with a distinct set of users; oncologists, paediatricians and those working in primary care (primarily GPs).
It included usability testing sessions, where we asked participants to carry out test ‘scenarios’ they may face in the clinic to see how well the resource served their needs.
During each research sprint we also ran an online feedback survey with clinicians who had used the resource, and from this we recruited individuals to take part in follow-up interviews. These sessions gave users the chance to expand on their answers from the survey and share any other reflections they had about the site.
We also reviewed the Google Analytics data to gain further insight into user behaviour on the Beta website.
It became apparent during the first sprint that, although the majority of users would likely access the resource using a laptop, mobile usage was likely to still be significant and so we developed a way to carry out mobile testing remotely, as part of the usability testing for the second sprint.
Our research consistently revealed that the site tests well with users. Many of the individuals we engaged with were enthusiastic about using GeNotes in the future in order to support their clinical practice and improve their genetics knowledge.
At the end of each sprint we presented key findings and considerations for future work on the site back to the Genomics Education Programme stakeholders. This included insights into:
- Improving the search experience in order to better meet the needs of users
- Simplifying navigation of the site
- Ensuring that all articles are designed to serve different learning styles
- Optimising the website for mobile users
- Examining how GeNotes can be integrated into clinical systems
These findings are being used to make improvements to the website as it is developed further, ahead of being rolled out to a wider audience.