World Health Organisation: Global Health Repository

NGO, Design, UX

The challenge

The wealth of information stored in the repository is vast and has been collected over many decades. Over time this had allowed various problems to build up:

  • Unintuitive navigation that often changed from page to page, leaving the user disorientated.
  • Data being presented in such a way that it was difficult to understand for the general members of the public who only want top level information. At the same time, it was difficult for ‘power users’, such as government researchers, to customise and query the content to suit their needs.
  • Researchers using specific search terms wouldn’t get the results they expected.
  • An inconsistent and poorly planned user interface.

What we did

When faced with a challenge as complex as this, it’s imperative to find potential issues early in the project. To give us something to learn from early, we first conducted a series of stakeholder interviews at the WHO Geneva headquarters. Using this insight, we produced a ‘straw man’ concept, taking the form of a low fidelity wireframe. Although a straw man is intentionally incomplete, it gives us something to demonstrate and learn from early in the process. 

Once we’d gained a deeper understanding, we were able to produce clickable prototypes, and from there define intuitive and clear navigational paths.

Landing pages & Pattern Library

Landing pages were created for different themes so that easily digestible data could be displayed for those wanting an overview, whilst also providing entry points for those wishing to dig deeper. Although these pages were consistent with each other, we took the approach that they could be adapted by the editors to better suit the difference in importance and the amount of content. To enable this we designed a suite of components that editors could reference from the pattern library.

Custom areas

For people who use the website often, we’ve designed a customisable data explorer. This allows them to save queries and mix data sets to create their own dashboard.

Information Architecture

One of the most difficult issues to unravel was that the same data could appear on separate pages. From a user perspective this was confusing. But from a search perspective this was seen as duplicate content. The consequence of this was that search engines would struggle to know which version is more relevant to a given search query and the search results would become diluted and fragmented.

To stop search terms becoming diluted between separate pages, we designed a structure that only allowed data to appear in one place.

What's next?

The new repository is currently being developed by WHO’s in-house development team. We look forward to seeing this live and working closely with the WHO to ensure that they remain the invaluable resource that they are today.