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https://digitalhealth.blog.gov.uk/2022/08/23/hta-website-redevelopment/

HTA website redevelopment live assessment

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Assurance, Live, Service assessments

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From: DHSC
Assessment date: 24 March 2022
Stage: live
Result: conditionally met at reassessment
Service provider: Human Tissue Authority (HTA)

Conditions of meeting the standard: 

  • send a specific communication to users when switching off the legacy website
  • investigate the data retention policy on all user submissions including personal information

Note that there was no design assessor available for this assessment.

Point 4 has been removed from this report and point 5 is only partially covered.  The assurance team decided this was the most appropriate approach given the size of the service, the risks and the timelines. 

Previous assessment reports

Service description

The HTA website acts as a repository of information. The website is being redeveloped to:

  • improve the user experience for the HTA website’s key audiences
  • be fully compliant with WCAG 2.1 AA accessibility standards
  • update the website CMS from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9 as Drupal 7 is reaching its end of life
  • reconsider the wider infrastructure to take advantage of cloud hosting and associated benefits
  • major content review, such as guidance, is out of scope for this project, though some content changes are being made and there are post-live plans for wider guidance reviews

Service users

This service is for both the public and professionals (licensees) working at the establishments the HTA regulates. 

Report contents

  1. Understand users and their needs
  2. Solve a whole problem for users
  3. Provide a joined-up experience across all channels
  4. Not assessed
  5. Make sure everyone can use the service
  6. Have a multidisciplinary team
  7. Use agile ways of working
  8. Iterate and improve frequently
  9. Create a secure service which protects users’ privacy
  10. Define what success looks like and publish performance data
  11. Choose the right tools and technology
  12. Make new source code open
  13. Use and contribute to open standards, common components and patterns
  14. Operate a reliable service

1. Understand users and their needs

Decision

The service met point 1 of the Standard.

What the team has done well

The panel was impressed that:

  • the team has good understanding of the users of this service and how they differ in their profiles and needs 
  • the team managed to identify priority user groups and their related problems or needs to address
  • there is a good and comprehensive approach to gathering user feedback as expected at this level of the service 
  • iteration of research and design in the service development process is very strong and there are plans to continue this process

What the team needs to explore

In the live phase, the team needs to:

  • put in place a systematic, triangulated, way of looking at all the user feedback and insight sources to help in the prioritisation of the problems to solve. For example, how feedback received from offline channels are considered alongside online feedback and analytics
  • put in place a way of measuring the end-to-end journey for users and over time to ensure that it is getting easier and satisfactory. Current analytics, regardless of the limited volume of users, indicates that the satisfaction level is not optimal in several metrics
  • ramp up the monitoring of analytics such as, referrals, keyword searches, exit points, and so on, to help improve traffic to the website through content improvement
  • ensure that the research agencies who will continue the periodical use research consider existing feedback collected in their analysis for a balanced and comprehensive recommendations

2. Solve a whole problem for users

Decision

The service met point 2 of the Standard.

What the team has done well

The panel was impressed that:

  • the team has made it easier to find the website through search engine optimisation
  • there is an off-line way to find information, including via a staffed service desk
  • there is now a way to redirect users from the NHS Blood and Transplant website following a previous recommendation to the service team

What the team needs to explore

In the live phase, the team needs to:

  • ensure user feedback can still be captured, and acted upon, when the beta banner is removed

3. Provide a joined-up experience across all channels

Decision

The service conditionally met point 3 of the Standard.

Condition: send a specific communication to users when switching off the legacy website

What the team has done well

The panel was impressed that:

  • the service has been designed both for laptop and mobile devices and is reactive
  • there is a staffed service desk available to users and the service desk team can feed back to the product owner in quick time

What the team needs to explore

In the live phase, the team needs to:

  • ensure that the service desk team are made fully aware of any future changes made to the website   
  • ensure that a specific communication is issued to users warning them when the legacy website is going to be switched off, rather than relying solely on scheduled newsletters  

5. Make sure everyone can use the service

Decision

The service met point 5 of the Standard.

What the team has done well

The panel was impressed that:

  • accessibility is being addressed as a business as usual activity
  • inroads have been made into converting PDFs to a more accessible format

What the team needs to explore

In the live phase, the team needs to:

  • carry out user testing with a wider range of people with accessibility needs, using various assistive technologies
  • continue to chip away at converting the PDFs to HTML
  • consider removing the animations causing unnecessary flicker when the pages load, or withholding them via a “prefers-reduced-motion” media query

6. Have a multidisciplinary team

Decision

The service met point 6 of the Standard.

What the team has done well

The panel was impressed that:

  • the HTA communications team has been trained to deliver continuous content updates delivery in the content management system    
  • there is appropriate governance in place to quickly manage content changes and any new development requirements    
  • the HTA can run a competition for future service support contracts and there is no vendor lock in

What the team needs to explore

In the live phase, the team needs to:

  • ensure that any changes to the website continue to be driven by user needs and continue to undertake user research before committing to significant development    

7. Use agile ways of working

Decision

The service met point 7 of the Standard.

What the team has done well

The panel was impressed that:

  • the HTA has changed numerous internal processes based on the recommendations from service assessments    
  • there is an empowered product owner in place in the HTA to deliver minor changes quickly  

What the team needs to explore

In the live phase, the team needs to:

  • ensure changes, as above, to the website continue to be driven by user needs and continue to undertake user research before committing to significant development

8. Iterate and improve frequently

Decision

The service met point 8 of the Standard.

What the team has done well

The panel was impressed that:

  • the team found and fixed problems with the redirection of users from the legacy website
  • the HTA has put in place a process to act upon the website’s performance against agreed KPIs

What the team needs to explore

In the live phase, the team needs to:

  • ensure that user research is undertaken when or if the website performs poorly against the agreed KPIs    

9. Create a secure service which protects users’ privacy

Decision

The service conditionally met point 9 of the Standard.

Condition: investigate the data retention policy on all user submissions including personal information

What the team has done well

The panel was impressed that:

  • the architecture of the site has been constructed in a way that actively protects more vulnerable parts of the stack   
  • a plan is in place for regular security updates
  • pen tests are being carried out as necessary when significant new changes are introduced

What the team needs to explore

In the live phase, the team needs to:

  • investigate the data retention policy on all user submissions including personal information. Consider deleting data after a certain time period, when retaining it no longer serves a purpose

10. Define what success looks like and publish performance data

Decision

The service met point 10 of the Standard.

What the team has done well

The panel was impressed that:

  • the team has baselined key performance indicators (KPIs) previously and continued to monitor the website’s performance during beta   
  • the HTA has committed to continue to monitor KPIs and are able to rapidly deploy a multidisciplinary team to investigate poor performance against those metrics 

What the team needs to explore

In the live phase, the team needs to:

  • define a vision for the website and articulate that to relevant stakeholders alongside any KPIs that measure the website’s performance
  • explore changing their KPIs if those in place do not surface poor performance of the website     

11. Choose the right tools and technology

Decision

The service met point 11 of the Standard.

What the team has done well

The panel was impressed that:

  • the site has been built using Open Source technologies in a way that does not appear to result in any vendor lock-in

What the team needs to explore

In the live phase, the team needs to:

  • continue to improve the non JavaScript implementation, looking to use progressive enhancement everywhere possible, allowing users to achieve every journey even if it is less polished than the JavaScript enabled version

12. Make new source code open

Decision

The service met point 12 of the Standard.

What the team has done well

The panel was impressed that:

What the team needs to explore

Before their next assessment, the team needs to:

  • establish a regular cadence for publishing updates to GitHub

13. Use and contribute to open standards, common components and patterns

Decision

The service met point 13 of the Standard.

What the team has done well

The panel was impressed that:

  • the site has been built mainly with off the shelf Drupal modules enhanced with small amounts of custom code where necessary - making off-boarding to another development team easier    

14. Operate a reliable service

Decision

The service met point 14 of the Standard.

What the team has done well

The panel was impressed that:

  • the deployment pipeline sounds well planned and robust, with zero downtime deployments and sufficient backups and rollback capabilities
  • architectural choices support a highly scalable service

What the team needs to explore

In the live phase, the team needs to:

  • confirm operational budgets with DHSC that include any extra costs associated with the service support and continuous improvement of the new website    

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