26-28 Sept.

Saturday, 28 Sep. 15:15–16:00


Designing an inclusive government drug information service for young adults

/ Emma Howell


Talk to FRANK is a government service that provides unbiased information about street drugs to young adults.

The 10 year old site came to us bloated with FAQs, stories from visitors and news articles. They were trying to keep up to date with new substances and information entering the drugs scene but were creating a sense of disorientation and confusion on the site.

Awareness and use of FRANK was declining as the once loyal audience were getting older and a very modest marketing budget made advertising challenging. FRANK was jostling with information from the likes of Youtube, Vice and Pill Reports.

Our job was to make sure young adults could make more informed decisions about drugs by getting accurate, unbiased information quickly and easily. We wanted to make FRANK the go to resource for information about drugs.

And we did.

Once we’d finished with FRANK, traffic had increased by 39%, there was a 21% improvement in people finding the information they needed, accessibility improved by 171% and there was an 80% reduction in hosting costs.

How did we do this?

At the very core of the project was Inclusive Design.

We created a programme that supported the work of our cross functional team to ensure that we were able to embed inclusive design at the core of our work. We will share how we created a measurable design research approach to test our new branding and designs.

We will show you how to use it in your projects.

We set up a research framework using a mix of methodologies that allowed constant user feedback, including extensive accessibility testing

We will show you how design, dev and tech implimented the UX findings to create an inclusive service We will share how we measured the impacts of our decisions and design.

This talk will be a candid reflection on our journey with the Talk to Frank service redesign and the power of inclusive design.


Emma Howell

Emma is Research Director at cxpartners. She has 13 years of research experience, starting in academia before finding her way to crafting lovely digital stuff. She has a mixed bag of research experience. Her fave bits include:

studying insect camouflage in British woodlands

observing a troupe of baboons for 2 months

depth interviews with vulnerable Bristol citizens to improve council services

helping the Samaritans to improve their services for people in emotional distress.

Emma is particularly passionate about pushing awareness of inclusive design in all of her research projects and empowering the next generation of female designers.

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