The new NHS Sheffield website was launched on 20 February 2009 following an extensive redesign to improve usability by members of the public. Sheffield Hallam University were asked to undertake a user evaluation of the website, particularly focusing on groups who NHS Sheffield is aware sometimes have difficulty finding and understanding information relevant to their health and social care.
You can read the Executive Summary and Conclusion & Recommendations of the report below, along with the resulting NHS Sheffield Action Plan. The full report can be downloaded as a pdf file.
"...it is getting near to being 'very' good"
NHS Sheffield's newly launched website was given the thumbs up by Sheffield users. In a study carried out by Sheffield Hallam University, participants rated the site as well designed and easy to access.
The website was redesigned by the Communications Team at NHS Sheffield to ensure that it provided information on its services and health issues that is accessible and relevant to all parts of the community. To enhance the accessibility of the website, it now incorporates a "text-to-speech" software, Textic, which converts ordinary web page text to high quality lifelike speech.
The evaluation included the views of people who NHS Sheffield is aware sometimes have difficulty finding and understanding information relevant to their health and social care including those with learning disabilities; people who are blind or partially sighted; people with dyslexia and people from black and minority ethnic groups.
Participants were asked to complete a series of 12 tasks to assess ease of navigation around the site and give their views on the overall site design and usefulness. Participants were also asked to test the text-to-speech software, Textic.
The results were very positive, with participants being able to complete the tasks easily. The Textic text-to-speech software was felt to be a really useful addition to the site and overall the design and usefulness of the information received high praise from participants.
A few issues were highlighted that participants felt could be improved. The search facility could be more sophisticated allowing searches for phrases, and the results could be ranked in order of relevance. Navigation around the site, whilst good could be improved by reducing the number of links on each page, whilst links to other pages on the site and external websites need to be more obvious when using the Textic text-to-speech software. Participants also suggested that extra guidance on how to use Textic would be useful for first time users. Finally it was suggested that the range of information in other languages could be widened to better reflect the cultural diversity of Sheffield's population.
The evaluation of the new NHS Sheffield website was extremely positive amongst all groups involved in the study, and the Communications team are to be congratulated on this. Based on the feedback from participants the following recommendations are suggested:
|Action Point||Who||By when|
|Search Engine improvements
Improve current search engine or find alternative
Allow search for phrases
Rank by order of relevance
Style results better
|AB / AEA||Feb 2010|
Investigate options for improving site navigation
Large number of links on each page
Better indication of links to external sites
Feedback suggestions for improvements to Textic
Extra guidance on how to use
Review list of community languages annually to check reflects current Sheffield population
|AB||Review due Feb 2010|