NHS service standard - 4. Make the service simple to use

Build a service that's simple to use so that people can succeed first time. Test with users to make sure it works for them.

Healthcare journeys can be complex. Do the hard work to make things simpler.

Why it's important

People expect services to just work. They need things to be easy when they're worried or ill. And NHS staff need services that are easy to use so that they can focus on patient care.

What you should do

Your team should be able to show that you:

  • make sure the service helps the user to do what they need to do as simply as possible, so that people succeed first time, with the minimum of help
  • test for usability frequently with actual and potential users, using appropriate research techniques
  • test all the parts of the service that the user interacts with - online and offline parts (like letters)
  • design the service to work online with a range of devices that reflect users' behaviour
  • make the experience consistent from start to finish by using the styles, components and patterns and the content guide in the service manual


NHS digital service manual

GOV.UK resources

Help us improve this guidance

Share insights or feedback and take part in the discussion. We use GitHub as a collaboration space. All the information on it is open to the public.

If you've gone through a service assessment or peer review, we're especially interested to hear from you.

Read more about how to feedback or share insights.

If you have any questions, get in touch with the service manual team.

Updated: December 2019