Warning: this piece is vastly too long, as I’ve spent some years on this particular product.
111 online is a national digital service that performs a triage by asking a series of questions then displays recommended services to the user.
The online channel represents roughly 30% of all 111 service traffic, with 1 – 1.8 million users per month 1.
I joined the team in early 2018(!) as the online service was heading into a second public beta assessment with GDS.
The initial contract turned into a long term commitment to help the product reach a stage of maturity where backlog issues become less about interaction design and more about how 111 acts as a connecting bridge between the user and services.
Personal highlights (in a very rough chronological order) include:
One of the toughest challenges users face when using the digital (unassisted) service is selecting the right topic for their symptom. Over time we worked to improve the underlying search engine, then during 2022 moved to a “browse first” approach.
PICS: before, during, after
Improving the display of services to the user after triage, taking into account:
- order of recommendation
- type of service (physical, non-physical, referral)
PIC: before and after
Building a small “adjacent” service to allow users to refer to a pharmacist for an emergency supply of prescribed medicine. Imagine going on holiday somewhere and you’ve forgotten to pack your meds.
This strand of the service represents the 2nd highest usage overall.
PIC: start page
While I had the energy to do weeknotes, a lot of them were concerned with this piece of work
Making a referral simpler
Splitting up a long, js-heavy, referral form into a simpler “one thing per page” sequence.
PIC: dunno, before and after?
GDS live service assessment
Taking the product into a GDS live service assessment was a big team effort.
Grappling with referrals and integration
A long piece of work looking at the possibilities of passing people along a primary care chain. From a triage into a primary care outcome into a primary care user-facing system.
This one was really interesting as it highlighted the technical ease with which this could be achieved, but the fundamentally opposing philosophical outlook of the respective systems from a clinical angle.
“Highlight” might be over-egging this one.
In early 2020 the pandemic hit and 111 online played a large part in the digital aspect of the COVID-19 response in England, essentially spending a certain length of time as the destination and hub (rightly or wrongly) for people’s varying needs — from clinical services to clerical things like isolation notes.
Wider navigation problems
Tweaking clinical questioning
dental analgesia - deliberate reworkings of PWs
Unassisted vs assisted
Public beta and live GDS assessments
gradually getting traction for context difference - assisted vs unassisted etc
Find out traffic etc etc
Note - early 2023 this will be stale near instantly ~94% completion rate ~80% mobile usage now
What other KPIs
An imperfect service, but one that works. Maturity of interaction design.
links https://www.england.nhs.uk/2022/11/nhs-launches-nhs-111-online-campaign-ahead-of-winter/ Yup
- January 2023 stats