GRAIL is one of the most exciting and innovative healthcare companies in the world. They are at the forefront of research into the early detection of cancer.

What we did

  • Service design
  • Usability testing

Impact measured against UN Sustainable Development Goals

03 good health and wellbeing S 10 reduced inequalities S
View impact report

They are planning to roll out their Galleri test across the world, potentially saving millions of lives by diagnosing cancers when they are more treatable.

Their scientists, engineers, and clinicians have invested lifetimes into building the technology that will allow this to happen.

They are now at the stage where they are inviting thousands of people to try their tests through clinical studies.

This means that they need easy to use digital services that can recruit people to and manage them throughout these studies.

We have worked with GRAIL on the NHS-Galleri trial to research and design services that:

  • recruit participants to the trial

  • allow nurses to gain on site clinical consent

  • enable study managers to administer trial locations and appointments

  • manage and retain participants over the course of the trial

All services have been co-designed with users to create the highest degrees of trust and usability.


increase in online bookings following UX improvements

Reassuring familiarity

People come to the service direct from a letter or the main trial website.

Given that they will have questions about a fairly sensitive topic, the familiarity of the NHS brand goes a long way in reassuring people they’re in the right place.

Hence, we used the NHS pattern library for many of the design patterns that make up the service.

By saving time and money on this step, we could focus on testing the service with people to ensure the decisions being made were validated in real life.

A key step in this process, is showing people what they’ll need before they start using the system. Given this pattern is used extensively in the Covid-19 vaccine and testing booking system, it was familiar to many people using the service.
The welcome screen of the trial uses a lot of NHS patterns to build familiarity and trust with people

Really good – looks like the NHS, that familiarity would make anyone feel comfortable using it. My 84-year-old landlady could use it.

Marc, user testing participant

Simplify every screen

Rather than asking every question in a single form, we break down the sign-up process to its constituent parts.

This allows people to focus on a single set of questions that are thematically linked.

By reducing the risk of users being overwhelmed, we increase the completion rate of the service.

Elegant error handling

Significant thought went into how to help people if they don’t initially succeed.

We were able to show the team that it was more likely people were making a mistake than trying to ‘game the system’.

When errors did occur, they were clearly highlighted and people were taken straight to the problem on screen to fix it.

When a user makes an error on the product, there are clear directions for where that error is in the form

Leading with accessibility needs

Throughout the appointment booking process we ensured that those with additional needs were a priority.

By ensuring that these needs are met, we make the whole service more accessible for all.

Each appointment screen has a range of accessibility requirements that  people can select

Contact options that fit with people’s lives

When first working with the system, only phone numbers were provided to help people if they became stuck in the process.

Through testing we were able to demonstrate the value to users of other ways to communicate with the trial team.

A phone call is not always the easiest way for people to communicate, especially if English isn’t their first language

When declined for the trial, people are given detailed reasons why

Making consent as simple as possible

For the system that is used on-site with trial nurses, they need a simple set of steps that allow them to gain consent from trial participants.

This includes a 16-step consent form that must be signed and witnessed by the nurse. The steps are complicated enough without a digital experience that makes it harder.

By visiting trial sites in person we observed in real time the challenges that were being faced and tackled them to ensure a smoother process that could see more people completing their appointments in a given day.

For example, due to the registration service being accessed via a near-vertical iPad, we observed nurses accidentally hitting the ‘end appointment’ button instead of ‘continue’. Simply moving this over to the right-hand side of the screen immediately alleviated this problem.

The backend of the website is clearly designed, but with a different heading colour to show people that they are not in the front end system