Clinical trials do not always recruit the right people as they’re hard to understand. Our design ensured that everyone could get the information they needed to make an informed choice.

What we did

  • Content strategy
  • Website design and build
  • Usability testing
  • Infographics

Impact measured against UN Sustainable Development Goals

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

Detecting cancer early often means it can be treated more successfully. The GRAIL Galleri™ blood test is designed to detect more than 50 types of cancer, even before symptoms appear.

The NHS-Galleri trial is a research trial to see how well the Galleri test works within the NHS. The aim is to see whether the test finds cancer earlier when combined with standard cancer testing in people who don’t have any symptoms. The trial is being run by the Cancer Research UK & King’s College London Cancer Prevention Trials Unit, a team of cancer researchers and trial managers at King’s College London.

1 million trial invitation letters are being sent to people between the ages of 50 and 77 across England, with a target of recruiting 140,000 participants. These people have to be representative of all backgrounds to ensure that the outcomes can be applied to the whole of the NHS.

While participants can register directly through the letter, a website was also required to answer any further questions and provide reassurance, for more hesitant volunteers.

This project was delivered in partnership with Claremont, a behaviour change communications agency.

10 months

The time it took to recruit 140,000 participants to the trial. The fastest in NHS history.

Understanding what people needed

People’s first instinct is to think “what’s in this for me?” However for many on the trial, they will see no personal benefit. For example, 50% of people that give a blood sample will be placed in a control group that isn’t tested for cancer.

This led us to focus on helping people see the wider impact of their participation on future patients and generations. The imagery and language used reflected the ‘ordinary’ people who are volunteering rather than focusing on potential personal benefits.

The site feels inviting and straightforward… happy, ordinary people together, working together to beat cancer.

Hazel, user testing participant

Showing the patient experience

If people are interested in helping with the trial, then they first need to know what they could be signing up for. While a detailed consent procedure is gone through at their appointment, the site needed to answer a range of questions up front to address concerns or answer questions.

We created a library of elements that could be used to highlight important information and answer participants’ questions. As most users tend to skim web pages before reading further, alert boxes and text highlights were used to draw their attention.

Expanding Q&As (Questions and Answers) were written in first person to connect with their audience of more hesitant volunteers.
A small element including a title, which expands out to reveal more information when clicked on by the user

The site feels like the government or NHS website – that familiarity is reassuring.

Edwin, user testing participant

Simplifying complex medical terminology for what happens next

Once questions were answered about their personal experience, people wanted to know more about the trial itself and how the blood test works. This meant explaining complicated medical terminology in a way that anyone could understand.

Working with medical experts and the GRAIL team, we produced a series of visual aids to explain the most complicated aspects. From here we provided links to contact the trial team if any questions remained unanswered.

One of the most complicated aspects of the trial, is explaining how the control and test groups work.
50% of people were placed on the trial and 50% were placed into a control group and did not have a blood test. Anyone in the trial that received a positive test was notified immediately.

Providing a truly inclusive experience

Accessible websites are not just about meeting certain contrast or font-size requirements. They must be written and designed in a way that whatever their context, a user can understand and use the information provided.

However, there are a number of technical choices which make this easier, especially when people are viewing the site on a mobile device or have specific access needs such as screen readers. For example, a high-visibility focus state on interactive elements helps keyboard users identify where their current focus is.

With an older audience in mind, the trial website was built with all of these considerations as a priority and as a result has a 100% accessibility score from Google’s Lighthouse test.

Google’s Lighthouse score shows how a website performs against a series of automated accessibility tests.
The website scored 100 / 100 on Google's automated lighthouse score for accessibility

I would definitely consider taking part in the trial – cancer research is so important. It’s reassuring to see that it’s just a simple blood test.

Edwin, user testing participant