I am currently working on a chlamydia discovery at NHS Digital. We’re looking to understand the needs of people who:

  1. could get chlamydia
  2. have chlamydia
  3. have had chlamydia
  4. are effected by people who have chlamydia

–and how we can link them to NHS services that are best for them.

Late last week I opened up Google Slides and cobbled together in ten minutes a dashboard for us to track our performance during our discovery phase.

I fed in some of my own needs, gave it the slightest layout work, and shared it with the rest of the team asking What’s missing?.

We huddled, added in a couple more metrics we were keeping an eye on and wanted to keep an eye on. We then gathered the stats we needed to make sure it was accurate, realistic. I had to mess with the colours a little, and we were “live”.

As a team we’re trying to update the dashboard at the start of every day, so it reflects where we got to the previous day. We put a couple of zeroes on there to encourage us to ensure they’re not zero for too much longer. From zero to hero, or something.

At the moment while we talk to people and gather their thoughts and experiences, the dashboard is the thing that shows our work so far. (We will get other outputs over the next couple of weeks when we start to map users journeys and understand the designs of services.)

A screen grab of the dashboard

You can view a copy of the dashboard on Google Slides.

Why Google Slides? It’s easy enough to use, it’s a tool most people will be comfortable with. You can add and change words. You can change the font, the font size, the font colour. You can move stuff about. If you want to keep it a little structured tables make creating a layout grid easy enough. It’s also something the whole team can get access to and add to themselves, fast. And it also saves automatically! What more do we want? Why would we choose anything else?

It’s also easy to share the dashboard with other people interested in our work - we just send them a web address so they can look. Making a dashboard and making it easy to access increases our transparency, makes us more open - and hopefully come across as more approachable.

We could have just used Post Its on a wall, but as tactile as that is, you need to be in the office to see that. It’s a busy time as a team so hopping into the Google Slides deck can be done at a desk* of the team member’s convenience.

At the moment we have one zero to raise: 0 people from outside our team have been involved in interviews.

Getting people outside of your team involved in research is always a winner. You get a good chance of getting new thoughts and voices heard, it helps to spread the load of the work, and there’s also the chance the people coming to help you will learn something, from knowledge to a skill.

We’ve got a research analysis session on Friday and we’re trying to encourage colleagues from outside our team to join us. I’m looking forward to it. We’ll create a good environment for them to come into. It should then be a fun few hours together pulling out insights and recognising themes.

The dashboard has already been useful at our show and tell on Tuesday, when I could end our show and tell with a grab of the dashboard: “This is where we are up to.”

As the next couple of weeks go on we’ll keep updating it, and even adding to it. When we get to the end of this discovery it’ll act as one part of a summary of what we have done.

If you’re interested you can find a copy of the dashboard on Google Slides.

If you’ve also done a simple dashboard while you’ve been in discovery phase of a project it’d be great to hear from you – especially if you found the dashboard went down well! You can email me from the contact page or reach me on Twitter. I am @ermlikeyeah.

*other places to work are available

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