A pair of glasses is being held up to a street scene for the viewer to look through, The street scene is blurry around the glasses and a bit clearer through the lenses. The glasses and the hand holding them are closest to the viewer and in focus. It's a right hand with a light skin tone and the glasses have round gold frames and dark ear pieces. The street scene has taller buildings on either side and what seems to be a mural of flowers on the side of the building opposite the viewer. There are no people in sight.
Photograph by Josh Calabrese

MindWell exists to support the people of Leeds and was developed through co-design with various people, including some with lived experience of mental health issues. The website has evolved and grown since its launch in 2016, including when we responded at speed to the pandemic by creating the Coronavirus Mental Health Information Hub. Having changed and grown so much over the years, we wanted to find out what works well and what doesn’t work well for people visiting MindWell.

Our research plan

As a team, we had some ideas about parts of the website that might not be working as well as they could, along with informal feedback from site users. We wanted to test these ideas out and understand more to see if there are any changes we can make to improve MindWell for our users.

We used two ways to reach people during our research: 

  • Pop-up interviews where we spoke to people at random in public spaces such as cafes, in informal and relaxed settings. 
  • We also spoke to people face-to-face using online meetings.

We put together 12 questions about parts of the website and asked people to give us their honest feedback, showing them the top part of our current homepage as a visual prompt. Once we had collected all of the comments, we looked for common themes and grouped them together.

Who took part in the user research?

User research was carried out from October to December 2022 with 25 participants from Leeds who represented MindWell’s key audience. Participants were a mix of males and females. We spoke with:

  • 15 members of the general public, most of whom had not used the website before
  • 10 professionals using the site to signpost people to information and support services in Leeds.

What we found out

We received a lot of positive feedback from speaking to people during the research that has helped us understand more about what is working well. The research also revealed ways we could work to improve MindWell, including:

  • Improving the user experience
  • New content development
  • Visual representations of people
  • New features and functions
  • How can we better support professional users. 

Feedback from the people we spoke to has also highlighted areas for further research to:

  • Understand more about how we can better support the needs of neurodiverse users and users with limited digital skills through co-design activities.
  • Look at re-wording some section headings with users through co-design activities.
  • Talk to user groups that we didn’t get to talk to in this research.

What’s next?

Overall, the research suggests that the website is a valuable resource for people seeking support for their mental wellbeing, and highlights the importance of user research in developing effective digital health resources. We have looked at the feedback and have already made some improvements, though there is more we would like to do.

Carrying out this user research helped us make new connections and we hope to build on these relationships by inviting further input in future co-design activities to guide the development of the website.

We have recently started work on improving MindWell for autistic people and visually and sensory impaired people. In addition, we are working with a social prescribing service, Linking Leeds, to better understand how MindWell can help them to support the people they work with.

It’s your turn now

If you have ideas about what you would like to see on MindWell we would love to hear your thoughts, please fill in our short survey.

If there is something you would like to tell us about, or you think there is something we can do to support your organisation, such as a tour of the MindWell website to help you get the most out of it, you can fill in our feedback form.  

Keep up to date

We are sending out a regular newsletter that will tell you more about: 

  • Content updates
  • New resources
  • Website developments
  • Campaigns
  • Engagement opportunities including volunteering, workshops and events.

You can sign up to our newsletter here

Psst! Pass it on 

Finally, if you would like to tell people about all that MindWell has to offer we have a range of free promotional materials that you can use to spread the word. 

Let’s all help the people of Leeds look after their mental wellbeing.