Sutherland Innovation Labs Service design to improve customer and employee experiences. Sun, 15 Dec 2019 04:57:05 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 Copyright 2019, Sutherland Innovation Labs - Sutherland Innovation Labs Service design to improve customer and employee experiences. 5 Ways D&D Makes Me a Better UX Designer Thu, 28 Nov 2019 13:12:18 +0000 5 Ways D&D Makes Me a Better UX Designer

You are sat around a boardroom table, surrounded by your coworkers. On the opposite side of the table sits your client. The room is dark and the glow of the projector threatens to drag you into a deep unforgiving sleep. Roll a d20… It’s a 1! 

Your eyes close as you are softly swept away to the warm embrace of the land of sleep. Suddenly something or someone calls your name and you are dragged back to reality, greeted by the room staring at you as your client asks you again,

“What do you think?”

Luckily real life isn’t controlled by the cruel roll of a die, but there is something about the hugely popular tabletop game Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) that can really change the way you tackle your day to day work life.

All image credit: Jamie Blackett

All image credit: Jamie Blackett

I have only recently fallen into the world of D&D. As a gamer I’ve always been aware of the game but never felt brave enough to learn all the rules or find enough willing people to form a group. However, this year I have played in a couple of different groups and become well versed in all the joys and pains of a great D&D session.

Over the past few months I’ve started to realise how all these roleplaying skills I had learnt in order to run a successful game of D&D have become an integral part of my work life.

Here are the 5 ways that D&D has made me a better UX Designer.

  1. Improvisation
  2. Planning for every potential outcome
  3. Roleplaying personas
  4. Telling a story with your senses
  5. Learning from your mistakes


The cornerstone of tabletop roleplaying games. Learning how to improvise has meant I can quickly adapt when a project doesn’t go the way I was expecting. Could an impromptu meeting with a client turn out they wanted something completely different, or feedback on a project drastically change the original idea? Improvisation teaches the skills needed to adapt and keep a cool head in these unexpected difficult situations, like when my recent D&D group decided to derail my 3 hour action packed campaign by playing as pacifists. 

Planning for every potential outcome

Part of being a good Dungeon Master is about preparing the adventure for your party in advance. What locations will they visit, who will they meet, how many goblins will there be in the dungeon? Much like preparing for a big workshop, you plan the activities that you will run and the outputs you’d like from them. D&D also teaches you how to prepare for the unforeseen. As your players can do anything they damn well please, it’s important to prepare for those scenarios. If they don’t choose to help the town by ridding the local mine of those troublesome goblins, where else can they go? This works in the real world too, if a workshop activity doesn’t quite work out the way you hoped what else do you have up your sleeve?

Roleplaying personas

Part of being a good UX designer is walking in your users shoes. It can be hard to build empathy for someone who’s opinion doesn’t match your own. D&D is a great way to learn how to pretend to be someone else, what decisions would my character make in this situation? Particularly if your character has a set of flaws, they may not always agree with how you’d like to tackle a situation. Our office D&D group has a Dragonborn Fighter whose flaw is he won’t pay attention to any plans and will actively choose to instead do the opposite, this doesn’t work well for team play but creates hilarious situations. Also, if you choose to be a Dungeon Master you’ll need to roleplay potentially hundreds of unique characters.

In the UX space your product users may not always choose to use your product in the way you want them to, and being able to preempt that and keep their actions in mind as you design is a fundamental skill.

Part of being a good UX designer is walking in your users shoes. It can be hard to build empathy for someone who’s opinion doesn’t match your own.

Telling a story with your senses

Creating campaigns for my regular group meant I had to quickly learn how to be more descriptive. D&D is a game run 95% in your imagination (and 5% frantic dice rolling) so I have to clearly communicate to my group where they were and what people or monsters are there. To do that effectively, requires not only descriptions of what a place looks like, but also what it smells like and what they can hear. As a UX designer, it’s important to be more descriptive about your designs, communication is an important factor to convey the reasoning behind your design decisions and any extra tools you have to explain ‘why’ the better.

Learning from your mistakes

This is a big one for designers in general, it’s okay to not get it right every time. It’s important to have time to reflect after a project is done and learn from what worked and what didn’t as part of a collaborative process. I make sure to quiz my D&D group after every session to understand if they enjoyed it. If they haven’t, I know going into my plan for the next session to change things up and hopefully get a little bit better.


If there is an opportunity for you to try Dungeons and Dragons I hope you say yes. There’s more to it than elves and trolls, you may even learn something.

Labs Library: Second Edition Wed, 27 Nov 2019 13:48:15 +0000 Labs Library: Second Edition

Since we first started putting our Labs Library together, we have added a plethora of new books to our collection. The intention of having a shared collection of books wasn’t just about cost-cutting for the people who wanted to read them, it also gives us a shared language and a shared understanding of our subjects from the perspectives of others.

So, it is natural that we’d want to share all of that with you too. If you want to read along at home, here are the latest books to join the Labs Library!

All image credit: Sutherland Labs

All image credit: Sutherland Labs

The Design Thinking Playbook

by Michael Lewrick, Patrick Link and Larry Leifer.

This book is all about action, it isn’t a page-turning beach-read by any stretch of the imagination, but everything written here is about encouraging you to move on to the next step beyond just thinking about its subject matter. The Playbook describes itself as “an actionable guide to the future of business” and it gives you all of the frameworks and tools that are required to pick apart the current status quo and begin considering a digital transformation within your organisation. Arrayed in a user focused, highly visual style are practical applications for design thinking based on real cases, providing solutions to common problems and the toolbox you will need to tackle the uncommon ones.

The Book of Ideas (Volumes 1 and 2)

by Radim Malinic

The creative industry is one of the hardest to understand from an outside perspective, but in these books, Malinic provides advice on almost every aspect of it, from the big to the small. Ranging from inspiration to inbox control, facing your fears, finding happiness in your work, the art of self-promotion and beating creative block. It overflows with a bounty of solutions to problems that many people wouldn’t even recognise as problems until it was too late. More than that though, the book is an art-piece in itself, gorgeously designed and illustrated with some of Malinic’s most important and resonant portfolio pieces so you can see the end results of the lessons that he has learned.

The Service Innovation Handbook

by Lucy Kimbell

Services create value by bringing people and resources together in different ways, and this book takes the broadest possible interpretation of “Services” to encompass almost every business in operation on the planet. Another action-oriented offering, the Handbook provides an argument for managers and entrepreneurs to adopt approaches from the art and design worlds to improve the services that they are developing and delivering.

The Entrepreneurial State 

by Mariana Mazzucato

There is a common perception that governments are slow and sluggish when compared to the private sector, but in this book Mazzucato lays out detailed case studies that prove the opposite is true, and that the state is often one of the greatest innovators. Taking an economist’s point of view on the matter, Mazzucato suggests that the only way for a society to flourish is through a symbiotic creative relationship between governmental bodies and private parties. Even if you disagree with the fundamental assertion of this book, it is well worth a read just to see how economics abstracts are failing us as communication tools.

Our library is always growing, so check back in later to check out our latest additions!

Lab Insights: Voice Technology Wed, 30 Oct 2019 15:22:52 +0000 Lab Insights: Voice Technology

Over the last few years the labs have been abuzz with chatter, and only some of it has been coming from the staff. Voice Assistants, once the realm of science fiction, have now become an everyday part of life, in the Labs where we design for them and at home where we use them.

In all of our time working to develop voice technology and help it find adoption, we have also developed some pretty strong opinions on the subject based on our design research, insights that we have been happy to share over time, but which we have now collated here for your ease in browsing them.

All image credit: Sutherland Labs

All image credit: Sutherland Labs

The Triumphant Return of Voice

We all like to think of new technologies springing into the world fully formed, but the huge game-changing technologies like voice actually have a development time that can stretch centuries, even if the people working on developing it never know the end-goal they are working towards. We are standing on the shoulders of giants to screw in voice-controlled smart lightbulbs.

Voice UI: Exploring the Invisible Frontier

In the cut-throat world of Voice UI, everyone is fighting to establish themselves as the gold standard by which all else is judged. Linguists and script-writers are now required to facilitate effective UX Design. The old psychological and behavioural tools that worked so well to predict which graphical interfaces would work the best need to be adapted for the new medium. It is an exciting time!

Voice and the Frictionless Workplace

The frictionless workplace is a technological utopia that will probably never exist outside of the imagination of experience designers, but Voice has provided them with a whole new tool for their thought experiments into how to render the regular working day completely free of difficulty. Even outside of the “ideal” there is no denying that voice technology has already provided incremental improvements in a variety of workplaces.

Nurse Alexa

There are accessibility possibilities for voice technology that are still being fully realised, with integrated smart devices a voice assistant can completely revolutionise the life of somebody with mobility or visual impairments, but all of this pales in comparison to the amount of help a device with no learning curve brings to the table when you have a cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s. Voice assistants are seeing widespread adoption as a vital tool in the fight back against dementia, and allowing older people to remain in their own homes for longer.

Voice and the Screen-Time Paradox

Every parent in the modern age has bumped heads with a child that wants more screen-time, but with the advent of Voice technology, doesn’t the whole argument become something of a moot point? Using voice, all of the necessary actions of life in a partially digital world can be managed without resorting to the dreaded screens. Something that should delight any parent or developmental psychologist.

Bathroom Voice Tech Makes a Splash at CES 2019

Voice technology is still going strong in 2019, with new innovations on display at the Consumer Electronics Show that inadvertently demonstrate the shape of things to come when it comes to future developments. The preponderance of devices intended for use in “Linger Spaces” around the home confirms much of our research into the subject, but also highlights the behavioural limitations of voice technology – in short, most people don’t want anyone, even an AI, listening when they go to the bathroom.

If these have given you a taste for Voice Technology and you would like to know more, reach out to our team and we will be happy to provide you with some insights that might be pertinent to the future of your industry.

Labs Life: Meet Jess McDonald Wed, 02 Oct 2019 13:08:30 +0000 Labs Life: Meet Jess McDonald

Welcome back to Labs Life! The only place where you get to take a peek behind the curtain at the Sutherland Labs and meet the people who are really running the show. This time we are delighted to introduce Jessica McDonald, the Team Coordinator at the London Labs and an international lady of mystery.

Jessica on top of a mountain

What does a Team Coordinator do?

Jessica: I help to look after the company’s finances, ensure that projects run smoothly, liaise with our legal teams to make sure that projects can go ahead as planned and I organize all of the work parties. That last one is the most important.

What did you do before you came to the Labs?

Jessica: Mainly contracting in various countries, doing project coordination for different government institutions. I have a couple of politics degrees, which might make me unique in the Labs, I don’t think anyone else has a governmental background. My experience with finance and coordination has helped a lot, but working in government gives you all the skills you need when you are navigating the bureaucracy of larger companies. This is the first time I’ve ever worked in a small, close-knit team and I am really enjoying it because everyone here is so nice. It is a great environment to work in.

I still like to travel. I think it is the only thing that keeps me sane. In the next year I have trips planned to Malta, USA, Germany, Kenya, Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro. I’ve completed several long distance hiking trails in my travels; walking more than three thousand miles in the last four years. Running and just… being outside is how I enjoy myself. Particularly outside of London.

Jessica hiking

Hop into our time machine, we are going back to ask ten-year-old Jessica what she wants to be when she grows up. What would she tell us?

Jessica: Probably working in an animal sanctuary or a horse yard. I had every pet under the sun when I was growing up; dogs, cats, hamsters, rats, guinea pigs, rabbits, stick insects and budgies, I volunteered at animal sanctuaries and the horse stables that I went riding at. I am still really inspired by the people who give up everything to go overseas to set up animal sanctuaries and protect endangered animals. Meanwhile, I’m thinking about adopting a senior rescue cat.

What is next for you in the Labs?

Jessica: I’ve only been in the industry for a few months, so I am still learning the ins and outs. I’m hoping that I can get more involved in the project side of things and see how everything comes together.

Will Jessica adopt a cat? Will Jessica adopt a dog, hamster, rat, guinea pig, rabbit, budgie and stick insect? Will she ever stop walking everywhere? Find out all of these answers and more in the next riveting instalment of Labs Life!

Great CX vs the Omni-Spammer Tue, 24 Sep 2019 13:18:17 +0000 Great CX vs the Omni-Spammer

Over the last few years most businesses have started to engage with customer experience (or CX) programmes, and one of the biggest changes on the customer service side is the evolution of the omnichannel contact centre. As the name implies, omnichannel systems supplement traditional phone-based customer support with tools that enable customer agents to answer queries and give support via whatever channel the customer uses, e.g. phone, SMS, social media, email and so on.

For companies that get it right, it’s a huge win, proven to increase lifetime revenues per customer, whilst increasing both brand loyalty and customer satisfaction. However when it’s badly implemented, it can create friction on the customer journey, and become the source of customer pain. Here’s some examples of typical omni-spam friction points for customers – drawn from the Labs team’s personal experiences – and potential solutions to fix the underlying problems that cause them.

All image credit: Jamie Blackett

All image credit: Jamie Blackett

The omni-spammer

Most people will recognize some (maybe all) of this scenario. It happens when a brand takes your phone number, email address and social media details, and then contacts you on all of them… with the same messages and customer survey questions. This is a tricky problem because the road to customer pain is paved with good omnichannel intentions… 

  1. You get an email from customer services reminding you that your car is due for a service in a month’s time.
  2. The next day you get an SMS message reminding you that your car is due for a service in a month’s time.
  3. A week later get a second email, reminding you again. This time you click the link in the email and it takes you to a web page with a pop-up saying “your opinion counts, take part in our customer survey”.
  4. You close the customer survey box, then read the page…. Which asks you to call your local dealership to book a service.
  5. You decide to call it later because you’re too busy.
  6. Then you get another SMS.
  7. A day later, a letter arrives in the post, with a glossy A4 letter telling you that your car is due for a service, and to call and book a service.
  8. Then in the middle of a meeting at work, you get a call from customer services, asking you to book your car in for a service.
  9. As soon as the call ends, you get an SMS asking you to rate your telephone experience.
  10. Shortly afterwards, you get an email notifying you of the time and date of your service.
  11. Then you get an SMS notifying you of the time and date of your service.
  12. The week before your service visit, you get an email reminder.
  13.  And an SMS reminder.
  14. Then the day before, you get a call from the service desk at the garage, checking you’re bringing the car in as arranged. You still are.
  15. On the day of the service, you call the garage to ask when your car will be available for collection, the main switchboard puts you through to the service desk, which doesn’t pick up.
  16. The service desk calls you hours later, saying the car is ready.
  17. As soon as you’ve picked it up, you get an SMS asking you to rate your service.
  18. And an email asking you to rate your service.

Okay, so this is an extreme example, but the problem with omni-spamming is simple: It shows that there’s a critical piece of information missing about the customer, i.e., their contact preferences.

Brands that understand the importance of customer preferences ask users how they would like to be contacted, and tailor push notifications to match. Of course, there is always the chance a customer ignores or misses a push notification on their preferred channel, so it’s actually a positive customer experience to add a reminder into the process, but there’s also a balance to be achieved. Too many notifications feels pushy, like a shop floor assistant following the you around “Can I help you with that?” every time you stop and look at something.

For companies that get it right, it’s a huge win, proven to increase lifetime revenues per customer, whilst increasing both brand loyalty and customer satisfaction.

How to avoid omni-spamming

Just because a customer can be contacted via SMS, email and phone, it doesn’t mean they weight each channel equally or want to be contacted on all of them. Also, they might choose different channels for different kinds of interaction, depending on how urgent their need is. Omnichannel availability is really effective for inbound communication to the brand – making customer services responsive in the channel the customer wants – but that doesn’t mean the customer wants to be treated like an omnichannel contact center when the brand decides to contact them.

The only way to design the right kind of omnichannel experience is to map the different types of customer journey, understand more about customer personas, and study customer behaviors to work out which channels are most useful for different categories of task, and which ones are overkill or just plain annoying.

Omnichannel needs an end-to-end process

Omnichannel systems transform the old call centre customer service model into an online version of the same, but the omnichannel part is only half of the process. The other half is delivering smarter, re-imagined user experiences to extract the full value from new digital channels. The goal is to enable end-to-end processes, because a channel has to lead somewhere, rather than become a customer dead end. 

This means making sure that internal business processes (like workflow schedules and different departments) are joined-up where they intersect the same customer journey, sharing information and working more effectively in sync between business silos. It also means taking a close look at where these internal processes affect customer interactions on a channel-by-channel basis, and asking some fundamental questions, such as:

Does the customer have a contact preference?
Does the customer prefer to use a specific channel, or have they expressed a preference for frequency (e.g., did they check the “don’t spam me box” on their sign-up form).

Does the push channel have a return channel to enable an end-to-end process?
Does an email reminder link to an online self-service tool? Does a Facebook Messenger post link to a useful chatbot? Does an SMS have a reply function to enable an action? If the push channel doesn’t have a return channel (so it’s a one-way email, SMS, or social media message) is it clear what do do next for the user to complete a task?

Have you understood the customer intent behind information services?
If a customer has signed-up for information or alerts, it is usually to trigger an action, so does your omnichannel process enable actions, e.g., “Your train is delayed” is not as useful as “Your train is delayed, would you like to book an alternative route or get a refund?”

A contact centre agent is best used for complex queries, self-service is better for simple tasks.
A growing number of customers express a preference for self-service tools (usually online). Make sure there is a self-service option for simple tasks, like a web widget or chatbot that could deflect the need for customer calls. This frees-up customer agents to work on more complex customer interactions.

Does the contact agent have a rounded picture of the customer?
Are the agents calling someone who has already received two emails and an SMS and hasn’t responded, or are they receiving a call from someone who has emailed before, or posted on the brand’s Facebook page? Capturing the 360-degree view of each customer’s contact history helps the agent anticipate why the customer is calling, and helps them deliver a better level of customer service

Rethinking processes like this is the essence of modern CX design in the omnichannel era. It explains the value of studying customer journeys to understand the causes of customer frustration, and discovering the ways new systems can – sometimes – cause unexpected increases in customer effort.  

The key to successful omnichannel implementation is to consider the big picture. In each customer contact scenario, the omnichannel platform works most effectively if it’s integrated into a new contact process that uses the strengths of each channel to deliver an end-to-end experience.

The future isn’t channel-centric, it’s human-centric

The key to successful omnichannel implementation is to consider the big picture. In each customer contact scenario, the omnichannel platform works most effectively if it’s integrated into a new contact process that uses the strengths of each channel to deliver an end-to-end experience. Each channel is different, and presents a complex set of possible next-best actions, so it’s important to really understand your users and their preferences to offer relevant, personalized customer experiences. Regardless of how many channels your customers use, and how diverse their preferences are, they all want the same thing, an easy, intuitive customer experience. A deep understanding of the customer, and designing processes around them, is what makes the difference between omni-spam and great omnichannel customer service.

Reimagining Graduate Hiring in Healthcare Thu, 21 Nov 2019 15:59:44 +0000 Reimagining Graduate Hiring in Healthcare

Our client wanted to rethink their entire approach to hiring graduates.

The global healthcare and pharmaceutical brand was investing in graduate programmes in EMEA, but a low proportion of these graduates converted into full time positions.

Graduate insights report

The Challenge

Leaders were questioning the effectiveness of graduate hiring in EMEA, and wanted to see a more strategic approach that would better serve the needs of the business. The hiring and retention of new capabilities is critical to the long term health of the organization and for building a talent pipeline for the future.

We devised an approach to help our client understand pain points in the current graduate experience, identify opportunities for innovation, and to build a strategic roadmap for the future.


Research activities

The Approach

Voice of the Customer Research

We knew that exploring graduate needs was important, but to improve internal confidence and create a shared vision for the future we wanted to view the challenge from many different perspectives. To gain a wide view we began with a ‘voice of the customer’ study, during which our teams carried out over 150 in depth interviews and focus groups with business leaders, HR and Talent leaders, graduates and hiring managers from 5 key sites across the organization.

Strategy Workshops

Next, we analyzed and unpacked these insights in collaborative workshops with the client, mapping out graduate journeys and creating behavior based personas. These artefacts were used as communication aids internally, and also helped to illustrate design recommendations to create a more user friendly user experience.

All activities fed into and culminated in a clear and executable strategy for graduate hiring, which was tailored to be delivered to different levels of the organisation.


“When you’re designing workplace systems to support graduates you need a deep understanding of their needs, behaviors and expectations.”

Anton Artemenkov – Creative Director, Sutherland Labs

The Results

Strategic Roadmap

We helped to develop a holistic, multi-year, EMEA-wide strategy for graduate hiring and development which received full leadership support.

Key insights were translated into workstreams spanning Planning, Attraction, Selection, Onboarding, and Development stages of the graduate journey.

The client has since launched a Planning Toolkit to help capture capability and business needs and ensure they are hiring strategically for the future. As well as, a  new ‘go to market’ approach on campus and a marketing campaign to enhance their Attraction strategy.

“The VOC Research has really helped us to accelerate this initiative and ensure we have the customer at the centre of our approach – thank you!”

Vice President HR EMEA, Global Healthcare and Pharmaceutical brand 

]]> An Employee Led Digital Workplace Strategy Wed, 23 Oct 2019 14:43:23 +0000 An Employee Led Digital Workplace Strategy

Our client had ambitious plans to improve the daily working lives of employees.

The financial institution had a workforce and working practices were disparate and varied, spanning 7,000 employees in 25 countries. They wanted to build a strategy for digital channels and workplace tools that would increase productivity, build community and lead to more contented employees overall.

The Challenge

To develop a strategy to meet these aims and increase the likelihood of employee adoption, we needed to ground ourselves in the needs of their employees. Our goal was to understand employees day to day challenges and pain points, their preferred tools and workarounds, and to do this at scale to account for employees in multiple locations across the world.

Exploring employee needs

The Approach

To capture insights from a large number of employees we began with a survey, which helped us to refine the focus for subsequent rounds of immersive fieldwork. Over the next 2 months, our team travelled to six countries to interview and shadow a range of employees in their own work environments to understand their workflows, day-to-day working practices, tools, and obstacles. We also used remote interviews to reach employees in another six countries, and to ensure we covered a representative range of roles and responsibilities.

I used to think innovation was in motion here, but I just don’t see it happening as quickly as it should be. Or it’s change for no apparent reason.

Sample participant

Employees in the workplace

The Output

The insights from all rounds of research gave our client a rich picture of how employees really work, including the organisational culture, tools and processes, and current challenges. This fed into their overall digital workplace strategy, with more specific outputs including:

  • Behavior-based personas as a tool for creating empathy for employees amongst stakeholders making strategic decisions.
  • Digital channel strategy recommendations including collaboration tools and internal communications, broken down into quick wins and long term goals.
  • Employee experience best practices which were rolled out as use cases across the business.
Design thinking to improve candidate experience Thu, 08 Jun 2017 15:21:26 +0000 Design thinking to improve candidate experience

Our parent organization, Sutherland, asked us to experiment with new ways of approaching existing recruitment challenges through a Design Thinking approach.

talent acquisition workshop


In an extremely competitive marketplace, how might we better attract the right talent? How can we improve retention by better understanding the end-to-end recruitment and employment journey of our employees? These are some of the questions Sutherland Labs have been tackling in our own organization – working alongside our Talent Acquisition teams.


We used immersive research to ‘walk in candidates shoes’ to understand a candidate journey throughout the recruitment process. We created behavioral personas, helping to segment, identify ‘star’ target audiences and better understand their idiosyncrasies. We also created journey maps that gave a visual representation which help to articulate pain points and crucial insight that often lead to ideas for improvements and solutions.

Talent acquisition journey maps


The insights helped our colleagues to reframe the story during the recruitment process, which in turn impacted their messaging, advertising and social media activity. The results have included a significant increase in social media followers and engagement, following a reworked advertising campaign. The project also contributed towards wider strategic goals of improving employee engagement, and aided a change of mindset within HR functions.

Rethinking in-hospital entertainment Tue, 14 Jun 2016 10:17:09 +0000 Rethinking in-hospital entertainment

Our client, global provider of hospital entertainment systems, asked us to analyze customer experience of their current system and inform the design of a cleverly user-centric new one.

TV remote and tablet


TV, radio, games, other interactive content: hospital bedside entertainment has the power to positively transform patient experience. But many patients in this study were not engaging with our client’s current system and opting instead to use their own devices. We were called on to conduct deep analysis of patient needs. Our findings then inspired the design of a revolutionary new system – to make hospital stays infinitely more entertaining.


From registering for the first time, to tuning in to the radio or finding a good film, we first identified key user tasks. We then conducted interviews with staff, patients and family members across different wards – Elderly, Stroke, Children, etc. – to find out how these tasks could be carried out most efficiently. Insights from discussions, interviews, focus groups and a visit to the client call centre were then translated into different personae and journey maps. The outcome? As many as 50 different propositions to guide development of the new system.


These propositions included: a friendlier, more accessible user interface; a promotional loop on the homepage to raise key feature awareness; a simplified VOC library structure to enable easy browsing; and extended account management features for families to enable them to make purchases on a patient’s behalf.

Hospital ward
Designing a better patient experience Tue, 07 Jun 2016 13:37:57 +0000 Designing a better patient experience

From billing and online payment to registration and insurance, effective healthcare requires effective administration. And, for a joint study by Sutherland Healthcare and its non-profit partner, this was a starting premise.

User on iPad


Our globally renowned healthcare client asked us to observe administration across its facilities and decipher what was working well, and where there was room for improvement – with a focus on billing, registration, online activity, signage and numerous other non-clinical issues.


Our starting point was to closely observe over 100 patients and staff in a variety of settings across its two hospitals and contact centre, considering factors such as environment, education and general operations in order to enhance day-to-day experiences. Our six main areas of exploration were as follows: transition from paper to online processes; online self-service; medical payment issues; education and awareness of costs in relation to healthcare; healthcare insurance; and the possible overuse of brochures and posters in medical environments.


Our research enabled us to identify pain points in the customer and staff journeys and to offer inspired solutions. These included: a new patient portal providing self-service registration and access to clinical information; text message reminders and late running notifications; a mobile app updating family members on patient status; cost estimator tools to make costs more transparent; online application and payment for financial aid; a loyalty programme; and a new strategy to increase awareness and uptake of health insurance exchanges.

Doctors walking in hospital