Sigma appointed to overhaul UX for UK Biobank

15 August 2019

Macclesfield-based digital design agency, Sigma has been appointed to reshape the digital user experience (UX) of UK Biobank – a major national resource for research into prevention, diagnosis and treatment of life-threatening illnesses.

Digital design agency, Sigma has been appointed to reshape the digital user experience (UX) of UK Biobank – a major national resource for research into prevention, diagnosis and treatment of life-threatening illnesses.

Given the ground-breaking work UK Biobank is doing, it is vital it reaches and supports all target audience groups, from participants contributing to studies to researchers requesting data access. It also needs to engage, appeal to and inform a broader range of stakeholders, including funders, local and central Government, the media and the general public, all of whom have an interest in the research and its outcomes.

UK Biobank wanted its refreshed website to play a key role in broadcasting its work over the coming years, providing a seamless user experience for specialist groups making targeted enquiries or navigating to particular content, while also supporting participants who want to know how they are helping health research. The website also needed to satisfy more generalist browsers or unfamiliar visitors, for whom data visualisation, efficient search tools and succinct summary information may be more useful.

As such, UK Biobank approached Sigma, a leading specialist in user experience, due to its specific track record in designing inclusive products and services in the life science and health research sector.

The brief calls on Sigma’s specialist team of designers and developers to carry out detailed analysis, which looks at the key requirements and challenges of UK Biobank’s user groups. The project will reimagine how researchers, participants, funders and other stakeholders can most effectively discover and access what they need when visiting any of UK Biobank’s digital platforms. This will have specific focus on the website, which acts as a hub for interaction and participation.

Hilary Stephenson, managing director at Sigma UK, said: “The sheer scale of UK Biobank’s undertaking is already having a major impact on how we understand and combat the development of disease. We’re therefore extremely excited to be working alongside the team to ensure that everyone can access the information they need to make this a success - both now and in the future. We have already made some headway into the project through reviewing the research user journey but this is an iterative process. We look forward to shaping the end product.”

Chris Boultwood, chief information officer at UK Biobank, said: “I’m delighted that UK Biobank is working with Sigma to revamp our digital presence. Their expertise in user experience, their understanding of the academic research environment, and their experience of working with clients such as MIND and NICE mean they are well placed to support us in this endeavour. Their approach to clarifying the researcher user journey on our website and their fresh approach to the overall design have already impressed us all. I very much look forward to the launch of our new website!”

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