Steering digital product development for Stroke Association

User Experience & Usability

stroke association website banner

The Stroke Association is the UK’s leading charity dedicated to conquering stroke. It provides vital support services, campaigns for better stroke care and funds research to find better treatments.

In addition to the medical research the charity undertakes, it also provides a range of information resources and support services, to help people rebuild their lives after stroke. The charity turned to us for UX research to inform the development and extension of My Stroke Guide, its digital self management tool.

“The user research has given us a really rich understanding of the stroke survivor audience.”  Laura Richards, Head of Insight and Business Analysis, Stroke Association

The challenge

My Stroke Guide tool

Stroke Association was aiming to make My Stroke Guide, which had previously only been available to people in selected NHS areas, freely accessible to stroke survivors across the whole country. In preparation for this, it had conducted initial qualitative research that focused on how best to communicate My Stroke Guide to a wider audience. This research revealed the need to understand user needs in greater depth to optimise the site for them.

Before extending availability of its My Stroke Guide tool, Stroke Association wanted to gain deeper insight into what users – stroke survivors and their ‘inner circle’ of family and friends – wanted from My Stroke Guide, and how it could be improved to ensure maximum engagement and usefulness.

What we did

Our goal was to help optimise the future direction of the My Stroke Guide tool, in terms of both the content and features offered. We started our user research with a one week diary study: participants were recruited from across the UK, including stroke survivors and some friends and family. About half of these participants were existing My Stroke Guide users, while half were not. Our client told us “We definitely got a lot of value from this part of the exercise”.

To build on the diary study, we conducted individual and contextual paired interviews with survivors and their supporters. The information gathered enabled us to build up a picture of stroke survivors’ needs, and to better understand how people go about life, post-stroke.

Our in-depth user needs report provided a detailed analysis of the research, which received positive feedback from the client. The key findings were then summarised in a presentation we used to facilitate a half day user needs workshop, attended by selected Stroke Association representatives.


In addition to providing insights on user needs, the research also delivered highly specific and in depth understanding relating to each of the main features of Stroke Association’s My Stroke Guide website. This equipped the charity to weigh the potential impact of changes, against the ease and feasibility of implementation.

The Head of Business and Insight Analysis added, “The research has also informed our long term vision, with valuable insights and greater understanding of stroke survivors. This will be incorporated into the longer term strategy of My Stroke Guide.”

User needs workshop

Our post research workshop proved valuable to the Stroke Association, highlighting the need for certain strategic decisions to be made. Getting teams together in a room together enabled everyone to engage with the research findings much more closely, thinking beyond the day-to-day and creating a more open perspective. This proved a productive environment for agreeing priorities and assigning individual and collective actions and responsibilities. The research was also beneficial in helping the charity build the business cases for sponsorship and partnership.

“System Concepts were very proactive in getting people together to do participative work. This generated new ideas, made the findings more actionable and encouraged greater ownership of the issues. It was a real positive.” 

Laura Richards, Head of Insight and Business Analysis, Stroke Association

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