Some user needs are easier to meet than others. It doesn't take much research to confirm that most people searching for 'bank holiday' care most about when they can next enjoy a long weekend.
But what if a user needed an organ transplant? Amongst many other priorities, they'd want as many people as possible to register with the NHS Organ Donor Register. How might GOV.UK help meet this highly-sensitive user need?
Since Christmas GDS has been working with colleagues from the NHS, Department for Transport, Department for Health and the Cabinet Office's own Behaviour Insights team to run experiments to learn how GOV.UK might increase the numbers of people choosing to register as organ donors.
Testing different prompts
We started by adding a very basic text link to the organ register from the final 'You're done!' page at the end of all successful motoring transactions on GOV.UK (e.g. renewing your tax disc).
The GOV.UK publishing team then took the opportunity to develop a basic A/B testing capability. This allows us to trial several different messages simultaneously to see which is most effective.
We're conducting this as a formal experiment with colleagues from other departments, and so I won't give away too much detail. But suffice it to say initial indications are exciting.
One small change to this one page on GOV.UK has lead to around 10,000 additional people joining the organ donor register each month. This one page is now the third biggest source of new registrations, behind doctors surgeries and the DVLA.
Given each additional donor might save or transform up to 9 lives, it's an experiment we're keen to continue, and I must thank my colleagues from across government and the NHS for the opportunity to participate.