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NHS Design Principles
NHS
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These principles guide all of our design. Use them to get started on a project and to help with making decisions. They're inspired by the <a href="https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-nhs-constitution-for-england/the-nhs-constitution-for-england">NHS Constitution</a> that's steered the NHS for 70 years. <a href="https://beta.nhs.uk/service-manual/assets/NHS_design_principles.pdf">NHS Design Principles poster</a> (PDF, 177kb)
principle summary
Put people at the heart of everything you do
Patients, family, carers, staff. Design things that understand and respect people's needs. Take the time to learn about the whole person - their emotional, physical and technical needs. Design with compassion.
principle summary
Design for the outcome
What will good look like? What are the health, wellbeing or other measurable outcomes that your work will impact? Your work should improve lives, either directly or indirectly.
principle summary
Be inclusive
NHS services are for everyone. Make sure people with different physical, mental health, social, cultural or learning needs can use your design.
principle summary
Design for context
Don’t just design your part of a service. Consider people's entire experience, and the infrastructure and processes involved. Think about how people begin and end their time with what you are designing.
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Design for trust
People trust the NHS. Take care not to jeopardise that. Design things that are reliable and secure.
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Test your assumptions
Design and test your work with real people. Observe behaviour and gather evidence. Work with subject experts and existing research. Do not rely on hunches.
principle summary
Make, learn, iterate
Start small. Experiment with different ways of doing things. Make prototypes to improve your understanding. Test and refine.
principle summary
Do the hard work to make it simple
Healthcare journeys can be complex. Take the time to understand what you are trying to solve. Do not push complexity onto the people using what you are designing.
principle summary
Make things open. It makes things better
Share your learning. Share your work. Be transparent in your design decisions. Be accountable and have confidence in your solutions.
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