Increasing awareness of the importance of mental health
The NHS is committed to the well-being and mental health of its staff, not least because of the unprecedented challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. One of their latest initiatives is a self-assessment mental health tool. Staff answer a series of questions about their mental health and, based on their answers, they are sign-posted to helpful resources or internal support tailored to them. The tool also provides the option of sharing data with internal NHS Wellbeing providers to assist with the process of seeking support.
Assessing an early prototype
Before the tool could be launched, the NHS needed to carry out due diligence to ensure it would be fit for purpose, accessible and compliant with internal governance body requirements. We were tasked with conducting the user research required to determine whether the initial prototype met these requirements.
An assessment in three parts
First, we conducted a survey with NHS staff which was designed to validate the product and test whether it met users’ needs.
We followed up with a WCAG 2.1 audit to ensure accessibility compliance. However, WCAG compliance does not necessarily mean a tool is truly accessible, so we also conducted in-depth one-on-one interviews with 8 users from diverse backgrounds. This maximised our opportunities to find any barriers that could prevent users from accessing the tool whilst providing detailed qualitative knowledge of how the tool was being used.
Finally, we analysed the data collected and presented a report of our findings to the NHS along with recommendations to improve the tool.
An accessible tool to support NHS staff’s mental health
Our report found that the tool was fit for purpose and, with some tweaks, could be made accessible to people from a broad range of abilities and backgrounds.