PKB in the NHS App - usability testing with patients

Accessing PKB from the NHS App - Usability testing with patients


In December 2019, whilst working on our integration with the NHS App team, we were lucky to be part of a series of workshops with patients in which both existing users and people who had never seen PKB before were asked to complete a series of tasks on a test version. The workshops were incredibly insightful and gave us powerful feedback about what users really like about PKB and which areas require improvements. We then worked closely with some User Experience specialists to find solutions for these problem areas which helped to drive our new designs.


  • Our research showed that some users struggled to find particular features on a page.

  • Users found the journal page layout wasn't clear

  • Users wanted to see the source of information more clearly and be able to tell from a glance what type of user added the data

  • Users wanted to see upcoming appointments in a more prominent place and separated from past appointments

  • Users found the tests pages a little overwhelming

  • The ‘Start consultation’ pop-up menu was not accessible to screen-readers

  • Patients wanted to be able to add their own plans if templates were not available

  • Users found the format of the buttons on the Symptoms main page were not intuitive

  • On the ‘Add symptoms’ page, users sometimes found it difficult to see which radio button aligned to each severity.

  • Users reported the measurements and sharing pages were not optimised for small screens


New options menu & journal

  • We collated all the features users struggled to find into a new options menu. The menu is represented by an ‘ellipsis’ which is now one of the most commonly used symbols for further actions. Clicking on the options menu will open a dropdown that lists the actions available, allowing better discoverability of functions.

  • We redesigned the journal page so the information was displayed clearly and the page was optimised for small screens.

Appointments & source icons

  • We separated upcoming appointments and placed them at the top of the page

  • We introduced new icons for user types to indicate the role of the user that entered data into records, to enable users to see at a glance whether data came from a patient, clinician or an institution’s record system. The rest of the source details such as date and method of entry, are still available when the source is clicked, however we moved this to a dropdown as it is secondary information that users don’t often need to see when scanning the page.


  • We re-labelled some of the items on the Tests page and simplified the icons for data points on graphs to make these easier to understand.

  • We made key information in the test results tables stand out more clearly and used the new options menu so that all actions were in the same place for the user.

  • We will remove the ’Start consultation’ button from the ‘Events & messages’ page if there are no available consultations for the patient to complete.

  • We updated the plans section of the platform so that if a patient does not have access to any care plan templates in their PKB record from their clinical department, we will provide a blank template for them to use by default.

Main symptoms page

  • We replaced the existing toggle style buttons with a new ‘Add symptom’ button to take users to the ‘Update symptom’ page

Adding symptoms

  • On the ‘Add symptom’ page, we updated the format of the severity buttons to make it more user friendly by replacing the radio buttons as users sometimes found it difficult to see which radio button aligned to each severity.


  • We updated the ‘Measurements’ page to make it more user friendly and optimised for small screens

  • We updated the typeface used across all pages to offer users a more contemporary look and feel across the platform.

  • We updated the colour scheme to meet accessibility guidelines for colour contrasting.


  • We changed the ‘Professionals’ screen found in the ‘Sharing’ section to improve the experience when viewing or editing what access professionals have to the record.

  • This included optimising the page for small screens and highlighting key information on the page.