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Design principles #442

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sarawilcox opened this issue Jun 21, 2022 · 6 comments
Open

Design principles #442

sarawilcox opened this issue Jun 21, 2022 · 6 comments

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@sarawilcox
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sarawilcox commented Jun 21, 2022

Use this issue to discuss the design principles in the NHS digital service manual.

Update June 2022 - a proposal to add a new principle around sustainability to the design principles

@sarawilcox
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We also have a longer term proposal to add a new standard on sustainability to the NHS service standard: #407. We are trying to keep in touch with work going on in GOV.UK around sustainability and their service standard.

@maddyow
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maddyow commented Jun 30, 2022

Working group notes 22/06/22

  • Revisited problems statements that derived from first working group and NHS design away day workshop
  • How do we give designers the knowledge to have conversations to help their teams make educated decisions?
  • What is in the designers control?
  • This work should feed into the design, engineering and product maturity models (including the Tech Code of Practice)
  • The principle will generate need for more detailed guidance

@maddyow
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maddyow commented Jul 1, 2022

Problem statements

Knowledge and guidance

There is a lack of guidance for the NHS design practice to productively include sustainability in our service design process.

What is meant to happen?
Designers should be supported in their responsibility to work towards achieving the NHS net zero sustainability goals.

What is actually happening?
There is little or no guidance for designers to take on the responsibility to consider sustainability and the net zero goals in their design thinking and process. 

What is the result of this?
Designers want to be more sustainable in their practice, but don't know where to start or what good looks like.

Process and tools

Consideration for impact on the NHS net zero goals is not embedded into our practical service design process and we do not have the tools to be able to do this.

What is meant to happen?
Designers should have a clear idea of the process and considerations from the beginning to ensure a service is user-centred and supports the work to achieve net zero goals. Necessary tools should be offered to enable delivery with a holistic process and any actions that can be taken along the way to meet the end goal.

What is actually happening?
Sustainability is not part of the process, some designers might have an awareness but this is voluntary and not given as part of our ways of working. There is no set formula or framework to work towards.

What is the result of this?
A disjointed process which does not consider the environmental impact. If this is considered later down the line, there will be more work to make improvements retrospectively.

Measuring impact

Calculating, measuring and understanding the impact a digital service has on the NHS net zero goals is difficult, making it hard for designers to act on the data they have and make positive changes.

What is meant to happen?
In the NHS net zero plan the organisation has a clearly defined goal to aim for. Designers should be able to collect the necessary data to enable them to calculate, measure and understand the impact on the NHS net zero goals that the services they design and deliver have, and act on that knowledge to make regular, positive changes. 

What is actually happening?
Designers find it difficult to source useful, consistent and thorough data sets to understand the impact of the services that they design and deliver. The focus for designers is on what they are able to measure, so consideration for impact on the net zero goals is a very low priority, if at all.

What is the result of this?
Designers are unable to build a picture of the impact on the NHS net zero goals using data and do not have the ability to measure changes to that impact as they iterate their digital services. 

Support

We are not yet leveraging the backing of our most senior design leaders to support in the steps toward our vision of a more sustainable design practice and community.

What is meant to happen?
In every area of the organisation, we should be working towards established sustainability goals defined in the net zero plan. Communities of practice should be responsible for their actions in working to achieve these goals. We should be leveraging the backing of senior design leadership to achieve these goals.

What is actually happening?
We are not leveraging the considerable support from senior design leadership to try to change the way the design community of practice thinks and delivers with sustainability in mind.

What is the result of this?
With the design community of practice, there is little or no consideration for the impact that the services we design and delivery have on achieving the net zero goals, and designers are not required to take on the responsibility to do so.

@BrieWhyatt
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Over the past couple of months, the sustainability working group has been focussed on creating a draft principle to go into our current list of design principles. We see this as our first step towards our long term goal of adding sustainability to the NHS Service Standard.

The first draft we have been testing is as follows:

Design responsibly
Look beyond meeting your users' needs. Ask questions about the social, financial and environmental impact of your design decisions.
Challenge existing processes and re-use resources. Champion responsible ways of working.

Since we have drafted this, we have been seeking feedback from internal teams and took it to an internal Design Huddle on September 22nd. We have not yet analysed the responses from the internal teams, but the high level takeaways at the moment are:

  • the draft principle does not feel concrete enough
  • we may want to think about narrowing our sustainability focus to just environmental sustainability, as it may be hard to give equal weighting to environmental, social and financial sustainability in one principle
  • we need to make it clear that sustainability isn't just the responsibility of the designer
  • as a working group, we need to give clearer insight into why we are suggesting the words and phrases we have used in the principle

We will use this feedback to iterate the principle and will update once any further progress has been made.

@BrieWhyatt
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Since our last update, the sustainability working group has been socialising our work and gathering feedback on our iterated draft principle. Our head of design has written an excellent blog post summarising the work of the group so far: https://medium.com/@teropsv/designing-sustainable-digital-services-in-the-nhs-1d1a81e3607b . The second round of drafts were:

Option 1:
Design for sustainability
The climate crisis is a health crisis.
Be curious about the impact of your design decisions on the environment and encourage your team to challenge existing processes.

Option 2
Design to protect the environment
Explore the impact of your design decisions on the environment.
Encourage your team to challenge existing processes and re-use resources.

Please read the blog post linked above to understand more about the intent behind the two drafts.

@BrieWhyatt
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With the help of Stakeholders both inside and outside of the NHS, and other Government organisations, the Sustainable Design Working Group has finalised a new design principle centred around sustainable design practice. The principle will be as follows:

Design to protect the environment
The climate crisis is a health crisis.
Learn about the impact of your design decisions on the environment. Encourage your team to challenge existing processes and re-use resources.

We have chosen this principle because:

  • Feedback said people liked the more explicit title and said it was "More direct and impactful"
  • If we are thinking about showing our direction of travel as a community of practice, this title tells the audience what we want to achieve
  • The line "the climate crisis is a health crisis" is taken directly from the NHS Net Zero policy documents, helping to give credibility and weight to the principle
  • Encouraging people to "learn" about their impact gives a more immediate action to the UCD professionals

We believe this principle is our best attempt to pin point how we would like to see UCD professionals consider the environment in their work. It is by no means saying that it is only the responsibility of the UCD professionals within a team. If anyone wishes to contribute any further feedback, please do comment in the thread here!

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