We are in the process of establishing a set of design principles. This is an on-going piece of collaborative work between teams in different locations (Leeds and London). It spans design, content and development.

We use design principles to measure our work

They are the foundation on which services are built. Health journeys are complex with many touch points. In this environment, design principles will guide our work.

Design principles tie values with execution.

These principles will lead and drive any product we produce.

Design principles are transportable.

Principles promote a consistent vision across different teams, different locations and different stages of a product or service’s life cycle.

These design principles will form part of the design guidelines across NHS.UK. They will be constantly refined through product iterations.

01. Don’t get in the way

Health journeys are complex. Services must be accessible to all. Don’t hinder users. Elegance comes from doing the most with the least, to be simple without being simplistic.

We should never add friction to users’ interactions with the NHS. People need to be able to move through the health landscape with as little headwind as possible. This is about ‘being effective with less’, being useful, elegant and simple, without being simplistic.

02. Look ahead and around

Think about the service in as wide a context as possible. Understand how people travel through health systems and services and look for ways we can innovate. Think about now, think about ten years from now.

Our horizon needs to be as wide as possible, so that we think about the service in the context of this month, this year, next year and in ten years. This impacts on our collaboration with other services and sectors, teams and future products and technologies.

03. Continual improvement

The work is never finished. Keep improving the services as you learn more and more about a health seeker’s behaviour.

Always improve with each iteration of our work. ‘Done’ is not ‘finished’. Embrace change and never see the current state of the service as the finished state.

04. Honest and open

Being open improves services. Trust is built when services do what they claim to do.

Being open and making things public is something we already do and understand the benefits of. Blog, publish prototypes, share our code and share what we’ve learnt.


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