The NHS Tracker is one of the biggest projects that the Data Journalism team has at the BBC. It's also one of the pages that gets more users when is updated.
The project provides information about how the NHS Trusts or Boards - organisational units within the English / Welsh / Scottish / Northern Ireland Health Service that serves a geographical area and provide different services - are doing in comparison with the national targets (are patients waiting to see doctors more or less?).
Until October 2018, the NHS Tracker only included information about Ambulances & Emergencies, Cancer Care and Operations. That month, data about the Mental Health services was included in the project. To revamp the web, the Data Journalism team and the Design team in the Visual Journalism Department at the BBC worked together to redesign it.
To do so, we did user tests to know exactly how people were experiencing the current project. Were they understanding everything? Were they confused? Was there something that they really liked? With that input, we changed not only colours, type and the structure of the chart, but also the wording of the text in order to make it clearer.
The charts now highlight which trusts/boards are meeting the national target through colour. We had many many conversations about the baseline of our charts. We wanted to stress when the trusts/boards are meeting the target and, if not, for how much.
Sometimes, having the baseline at 0 made these comparisons difficult. Some other times, the minimum scores were very close to 0. The final choice was a compromise: if the minimum score was less than 40 the baseline was at 0. Otherwise, we broke the axis and indicated it.
Data research and analysis by Ransome Mpini, Christine Jeavans, Nick Triggle, and John Walton.
Design (and development of chart) by Irene de la Torre-Arenas.
Development by Becky Rush, Felix Stephenson, Alexander Ivanov and Chris Ashton.