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Brook clinic illustration

New Brook ‘Find a Service’ tool goes live!

by Peter
by Peter Cass
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Creating an intuitive and inclusive online experience that helps those looking to access sexual health support to identify their options and find their nearest service provider.

The opportunity

One of the reasons that we love working with organisations like Brook is that it gives us an opportunity to make a real difference and create a positive impact on peoples’ lives. The ability to access the right information online is a vital step in getting people the care and support they need. The Find A Service tool on the Brook website was created to provide users with accurate and relevant information about their local Brook service, alongside details about other local services and online provision. But the existing tool wasn’t living up to this objective and was in desperate need of a revamp.

With information about how to access essential care becoming even more tricky to locate and navigate, it was clear that we needed to find a better way to provide people with up-to-date details about their local sexual health services. Beyond that, we couldn’t afford to miss opportunities to direct people to alternative sources of help and support or to help them identify suitable self-care options.” – Brook Digital Manager, Helen Anderson

User journeys and wireframing

The first step was to map out the user journeys and build an intuitive layout around their requirements. Wireframes were developed to structure the content and core functionality, defining clear routes to key content for all use cases.

Interface design

After conducting a thorough scoping exercise and identifying the pain points with the existing tool, as well as exploring the challenges faced by users, we wanted to look at how a more advanced digital tool could deliver and streamline contact with services. We drew inspiration from booking sites like Airbnb and Treatwell, plus dating apps like Tinder, to look at how people prefer to interact with complex information and processes online. The resulting prototype was put through a rigorous testing process and the feedback, gathered from Brook staff and external testers, was incorporated into the designs.

Brook Find a Service location search user interface
Brook service listing user interface

The challenge

The main challenge we faced was the fact it had to be developed within the WordPress infrastructure. A custom PHP-based project would have been a much simpler job. The NHS API only returns data in JSON format, whereas we needed the data in XML format. To solve this, we imported around 20,000 records into a plain database table so that we could transform and export the data in the correct format. We then used another tool to import the data into WordPress and map the data to unique fields set up within a custom post type.

Filtering results

Another challenge, more to do with the front-end build and user experience, was the application of filters. These could only be applicable to Brook results as that type of data only existed for those services. We needed the ability to show/hide results from the NHS on the front-end and filters could only be active when NHS results were inactive.

Data mapping

One of the main aims of the FAS tool was to present Brook services alongside those fed in from the NHS API. This meant we needed to create a relationship between the ‘Services offered’ for Brook and the ‘Services Offered’ of the NHS API so that visitors could select this as an option when searching. We worked with Brook to establish how the differing service types matched up and created some custom scripting that mapped the data in the way we required. For example:

User testing

Involving the target audience in the testing was a key component in ensuring that their needs were met effectively. Using the Userbrain platform, we developed a series of tasks and selected users matching the target demographic to test the system, analysing the findings and using this insight to inform the development of the tool functionality and user interface. The beta version came under criticism because the filters we not obvious enough, which helped us to improve the user experience in the final version with extra signposting to inform the user why filters were not available when NHS results were active.


The outcome was a customisable Find a Service journey that not only allows users to search for what they need to know about accessing sexual health care but also tells them what they WANT to know. It guides users to consider all of their options for support, helping them make informed decisions about how to get the help they need and clearly signposting them to take appropriate action. The new tool acknowledges that proximity and opening times are only a part of the help-seeking journey – equally important are access needs and limitations, the option to seek support online, assurances of confidentiality and knowing that a service is non-judgmental, no matter what your situation.

As a member of the disability community, I really appreciate the accessibility filter feature and just wanted to formally thank you for the chance to have my needs feel seen in such an important health space.” — Find a Service user

Brook’s Digital Manager, Helen Anderson, goes on to say:

The new tool presents both Brook services and other sexual health services, pulled from the NHS API. For Brook services, users can apply filters to help identify the most appropriate service for them; such as ages supported, accessibility needs, open at weekends etc. NHS and other listings have been standardised to be more accessible, with functionality applied to ensure links out to other websites are working. We have also built-in signposting and messaging to support people to find digital services, for example, links to where they can order free STI home testing kits rather than having to visit a clinic. We are now building a roadmap for ongoing development, which features short-term improvements to presentation, filters and guidance alongside larger innovations like listing digital-only services, adding in appointment booking functionality and syncing Brook service listings with our Google Business profiles.”

Our thanks go to the team at Brook. It’s great working with such a passionate team, on a project that makes a real difference to peoples’ lives.

If you’re looking for support accessing sexual health services near you, then you can access the Brook Find a Service tool here

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  • Author Peter Cass
  • Position Creative Director
  • ID #0001H