Working with our users to design a new display for test results

Processing almost 4 million test results per week, the test results page is one of the most visited pages in Patients Know Best (PKB). The current display allows patients to see the trend of all their test results at a glance and by clicking on the graphs they can view the full history of results for the test selected. As our user base has grown, we have received feedback from a number of patients that they would also like the option to see a list of all their latest test results in a single table, for the table to indicate the change since the previous result and for the range to be displayed alongside.  We have been working with many of these users to redesign our ‘Tests’ pages, in a comprehensive development process,  to ensure we meet different requirements.  

Upcoming changes

  • We have created a new tabular view of test results that will appear on the landing page of the ‘Tests’ section
  • We will default to the ‘Latest test results’ table view, but users can still navigate to the graphs page to view trends over time 
  • We will show a list of test results from the most recent date in the first section 
  • We will show the most recent result for all other tests in the section below 
  • Both sections will indicate whether results are in or out of range (if the range was sent) 
  • We will also show the increase or decrease for numerical results since the previous result 

The current display: 

Current test result page on desktop and mobile

The new default display 

New tabular test result layout

Our research & design process

We set up an initial round of interviews to better understand our users’ pain points. These patients gave us great insight into how they access their health data and what they felt could be improved in PKB. 
After the interviews, we drafted some concepts based on the feedback and began testing usability to check we were on the right path.  We decided to use various methods, including interviews,  prototype testing, preference testing and first-click testing. We tested the updates with long-term existing users, recent joiners and those who have not accessed PKB before.  Users were aged 20-75+ from around the UK. 

Initial research & findings

We collated all past feedback sent to us regarding test results, to review in detail. This feedback usually comes in via our support team, our user research groups and direct contact with patients. This gave us an initial idea of what the users wanted and we were able to draft some concepts. 

Patients said the most vital information to them was their latest set of test results, and they found the existing PKB graphs were more helpful in monitoring trends, rather than for a quick review of all their latest results, which was something some of the patients stated they would wake up in the middle of the night to do. These test results inform the patient on how their disease is doing.  In some cases,  they also indicate whether they should change their lifestyle in some way or seek further medical attention. Some patients felt that PKB could improve how this information was presented, to allow them to see their latest test results more clearly and access a condensed list of recent results. 

Patient interviews & prototype testing

We held several rounds of interviews with patients throughout the design process. The initial calls were to better understand our users’ pain points, to see what they felt was missing from the test result display and how it could be improved. The next two rounds of calls were to show them new concepts and designs, to check that they would meet their needs. We were particularly conscious to consult with active test users who have provided feedback recently on improving our display.  Where possible we contacted relevant individuals and invited them to be involved in one or more of the stages.  We thank them for their time and helpful input.  

Preference testing 

We ran these tests with 20 people in each round, aged between 44-64 all from the UK.In these tests, we tested three variations with only minor differences. What we wanted to know is which layout helps certain information stand out more clearly, in this case, this information was the out-of-range test result. In the test, we showed people all three variations next to each other in random order and then asked “Which design helps you spot your out-of-range test result more clearly?” 

First click testing 

During the design process, we used another method called first-click testing. This technique, as the name suggests, is usually used to determine where people click first when given a task to complete and how quickly they do so.  We ran these tests with 20 people in each round between 44-64 all from the UK.
As first-click testing measures the time it takes for someone to make a decision; our primary intention was to see which version helped people spot the out-of-range test result more quickly.  After participants clicked the out-of-range test result, they also answered three questions to get further confirmation on what we see from the data: 

  1.  “On a scale of 1 to 5, how easy was it to find the out-of-range test result on the screen?” 
  2. “On a scale of 1 to 5, how clear did you find the presentation of your test results information?” 
  3. “If you could change one thing about the design to make it better for you what would it be and why?”


The new display option will be introduced in August. The first release will include the new latest results table which will be the default view on the ‘Tests’ page. This first iteration will show all results from the chosen date, including multiple results for the same test if taken on the same day (pre and post-dialysis for example) and show if a result is in or out of range (if the range is supplied with the result).  Later in August, we will add an ‘About test’ link beside each result to allow the patients to read further information on the test type and will also show how the test result value has changed (increased/decreased) since the last test. We will follow up with patients after August to gather further feedback and identify whether there are further areas of improvement. 

Getting involved in user research 

If you would like to get involved in our user research & usability testing, regardless of how much you have used the system or whether you are a patient, carer, clinician or administrative user, you can read more about the process and sign up here.


  1. All you need to do for kidney patients like myself is re-instate the old patient view system which was perfect Bob Burgess

    1. Yes, I agree with Bob, but it does appear that most patients want a simple view of current results. I’m ok with this but definitely would prefer a clearer historical graph as this essential info’ for ongoing monitor of my kidney transplant functioning.
      The most frustrating issue for me is not being able to print my results or save to my PC as my local GP does not have access to my blood test results and I need them for discussion on any treatment needs or medication change.

      1. Agree David we get the result before our doctor.would be great to print out

  2. I agree with Bob the old patient view system of reading and understanding the results was much easier. If you keep listening to patient views you will get there in the end

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