Sexual Health - how do we make it easier to access NHS services?

Online sexual health testing service to tackle high clinic demand

  • 8 weeks from an idea to a working online service
  • 16 weeks from inception to NHS approved service
  • 95% of people who start the order process go through to completion
  • 60,000+ test kits ordered to date
Using a web prototype for instructions

SH:24 in numbers


Orders dispatched per week


Test kits ordered to date

Taking the process from the doctor’s waiting room to online

Following a string of negative headlines and a rise in STI rates in the Lambeth and Southwark areas, SH:24 came to us with an idea for a digital service: An online sexual health testing service for 620,000+ local residents. The vision was a self-service testing kit, ordered online, to tackle long queues at sexual health centers and dramatically increase public access to these services.

Screenshot of SH:24 website

From the moment we met Unboxed, we felt they understood our approach and had a robust process for exploration and delivery.

Chris Howroyd, Director — SH:24

'Moving in' next door to users and partners

We co-located with the SH:24 part of the team in their offices in Lambeth for the discovery and alpha phases. Our location, close to the clinics, gave us direct access to the service users and our clinical partners. From the earliest sketches, through prototypes and models, to the final production code and kits, we were able to validate our thinking on a daily basis with real users of the service.

Stakeholder workshop and meeting
Blood instructions video

A new physical service with a digital core

Whilst the digital elements formed a critical part of the service, great care was taken to ensure that the experience of the physical product was equally as effective. The packaging and instructions, supporting information and messaging went through numerous iterations – for example the home blood sampling process changed radically and the instructions were tested and recreated several times.

Early prototype of kit instructions

Unboxed brought people together rapidly and helped us to deliver a full service in an incredibly short space of time.

Chris Howroyd, Director — SH:24

Building trust amongst stakeholders

Many different stakeholders had high hopes or deep concerns about the outcome of this mould-breaking project. So we held regular open workshops to establish enough trust to move fast. We identified the most significant issues first - patient record security and service quality – and directly addressed these immediately.

Team and stakeholders discussion

SH:24 in numbers since launch


Kit return rate


User satisfaction rate


Users involved in the design


People starting the order process through to completion

Live service launched in 16 weeks

After just 8 weeks, users were able to order and complete an STI test at home, without any clinical support. A further 8 weeks and this live service was scaled and launched to the public, resulting in over 60,000+ tests being ordered to date. With a result pleasing users and stakeholders alike, SH:24 has rolled out across a further six UK areas. SH:24 won the 'Best User Experience’ award at the User Experience UK (UXUK) Awards 2016.

Opened SH:24 test kit

A great team with exactly the right mix of skills we needed.

Chris Howroyd, Director — SH:24

Unboxed team

Jon Normington
Martyn Evans
Tom Sabin
Neil van Beinum
Kips Davenport