NHS Digital will overhaul the design of its digital services after putting out a notice to formally withdraw its common user interface (CUI).
The organisation is ditching its long-standing design standards for healthcare computing interfaces – created during the age of 4:3 ratio CRT monitors – in favour of those fit for touchscreens, voice assistants and other new end-user technologies entering the digital health ecosystem.
NHS Digital will do this work in collaboration with NHSX, the new unit recently charged with developing, agreeing and mandating clear standards for the use of technology in the NHS.
The organisation has appealed for users to offer feedback on what should replace the CUI and the future design standards they should adhere to.
NHS Digital will review the current standards to “identify design elements which remain relevant to ensuring patient safety.”
Matt Edgar, head of design at NHS Digital, explained the decision to withdraw the CUI in a post on the NHS Digital blog.
“Unfortunately, the CUI has not changed with the times. Its content has not been updated since the closure of NHS Connecting for Health in 2013 and is now hosted by the National Archives.
“What’s more, the way we design and build digital services is different now.”
Edgar suggested that the outdated design was causing issues for NHS staff, specifically the NHS e-Referrals team, who found that elements of the e-Referral interface were not “meeting accessibility and usability standards.”
This team has since collaborated with colleagues working on NHS Digital’s Summary Care Record application to create an interface better suited for mobile devices, Edgar explained.
“To bring about our vision of safe and intuitive systems that work well together, we need standards that are relevant to today’s designers and developers.
“The standards we mandate must be well maintained, straightforward to adopt and easy to assess services against.”
“We plan to keep the data formats that are still relevant but to separate them from out-of-date assumptions about presentation.”
The full withdrawal notice can be found here.