Rethinking social care

Background

Hackney Council suffered a severe cyberattack in 2020, which left them with no social care system. We helped them recover from this attack, by building something better from scratch, by building something more robust and elegant. We enabled them to rethink their approach and supported them in adopting new ways of working. We worked in 2-week UX sprints for over a year, working closely with delivery managers, engineers, researchers and social care staff.

My role

My responsibilities extended beyond interaction design, due to lack of resources and strict timeframes I was involved in front-end development and research to speed up delivery. My role also involved design capability building to allow the client to adapt to this process and understand the value of design thinking.

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Design process

We followed a research-led design approach testing and iterating hypothesis-driven designs. We held focus groups, daily group google chats and 1-to-1 interviews with the end users to gain a wide lens view of each design drawback. I facilitated over 50+ sessions throughout the course of the project and ran some sessions introducing changes, this enabled me to build trust with staff to improve their openness to changing their habits. Above is an image of some of the research gathered against designs.

I experimented with multiple interaction design approaches prior to user testing. These included experimenting with variations of designs and creating moodboards. To eliminate designs heuristic evaluation was used, alongside design and engineering crits. 

Throughout the project, I led several types of  workshops including ideations sessions, research synthesis sessions and more. During the process I improved the design maturity of the organisation. The images below show an ideation and research synthesis session.

“We collaborated frequently on the project. They listened to our concerns and needs. They suggested a solution that could work for us. They were quite creative and involved me with different project tools.”

 

- Safeguarding team manager

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Working with tech

I worked as part of small multidisciplinary teams to develop the solutions. This enhanced efficiency and bridged the gap between design and engineering. I worked closely with the engineering team to eliminate overly complex designs. For three months of the project I worked as a front-end developer to help support the team, despite this being a new workstream to me I thoroughly enjoyed the exposure and gained a deeper understanding of the end-end implementation of UX design. Below is a handover of designs I facilitated with the engineering team.

“The Figma designs you create are helpful, they allow us to demonstrate a prototype to the users and also provide a lot of value to the engineers when implementing your designs”

 

- Senior Engineer, MadeTech

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Outcomes

We developed a set of open source small reusable tools, training material and handbook to improve confidence/safety behind the changing process. That could provide low-cost solutions for social care departments for the rest of the country. To view a video of the tools working see video link here.

 

I lead the design of a new service for the safeguarding team to handle incoming cases.  Enabling the team to prioritise work based on urgency, whilst having the capacity to oversee their colleagues work and potentially intervene in the case of blocked urgent cases. Altogether giving them more trust in their process and delivering urgent care faster.

Towards the end of the contract, I led the design of a platform with the capacity for 10+ specialised teams to manage and oversee their work. By understanding how the specific needs of each team vary I was able to design a minimum viable solution that could be developed within the timeframe. This functionality was crucial for the staff to fully adopt this new system and move away from their previous approach.

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