NHS case study

Designing access to Covid-19 learning resources for NHS workers

NHS Apps


The NHS partnered with Thunk to increase the design capacity of The Learning Hub project during a critical time for the healthcare sector. The current system was undergoing a transformation when Covid-19 hit. That resulted in a need for increasing the cadence around design and development in order to launch the system to the many health and social care workers who relied on this as a resource during challenging times.

Focusing on mobile first and championing the NHS’s own Digital Service Manual, we reset and sped the project up with our design-led approach. We created resources to help with implementation and designed new components adding to the NHS Digital Service Manual. We built fully working responsive HTML prototypes for user testing on both mobile and desktop.

Launched in May 2020, The Learning Hub serves over 1 million health and social care workers in the UK.


What we did

  • Increased the project team’s design maturity
  • Modernised the team’s design process and ways of working
  • Created future design and research roadmaps based on user needs
  • Developed new approaches for obtaining user feedback
  • Cross functional collaboration
  • Design iteration
  • Usability testing


  • 5x

    Increase in speed to launch Covid-19 learning resources for NHS workers

  • 1m+

    Health and social care workers in the UK accessed the learning resources at a critical time

  • 32

    Participants took part in remote usability studies to test prototypes on mobile and desktop

  • Rob Lenihan

    “Thunk totally transformed our product and our design process at a critical time for the project. Speed and quality were at the very highest level. Plus they’re also great fun to work with.”

    Rob Lenihan, Head of Design

Project Highlights

1. Design Capabilities

Increasing design maturity and modernising ways of working

From the outset we looked at the current ways of working, design processes, cross-team collaboration, and instantly made improvements that helped the product and development teams work more efficiently. We modernised tools and methods used by the design team, allowing for a much smoother creation of a design system and responsive prototypes. This made it far easier for the development team to implement new designs rapidly.


  • NHS Worker
  • NHS Learning Hub

2. Design iteration and usability testing

Implementing a collaborative, user centered design process

Our recommendations for improving the process of how user research and usability studies were facilitated, along with insights, were quickly passed back to the product teams. This meant that components, pages, and critical user journeys were created with less push back, and sped up the overall launch of the new system.

Every team member was invited to observe usability studies to gain a first hand understanding of user needs and how the designs needed to be iterated upon before launch. Collaborative ideation sessions allowed the product team to work with designers to refine designs before conducting a number of usability sessions to gain confidence in the solutions proposed. From there, final specifications for each component of the design system could be passed to developers to implement.

  • NHS Learning Hub in use