A ‘Google Maps’ for The British Red Cross (Using Lean UX!)

5 March 2020
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Reading time: 3 minutes

The British Red Cross (BRC) has a mission to help people during a wide range of humanitarian crises. To do this they need to make well-informed, evidence-based and agile decisions. BRC had an innovative concept to develop a community maps platform – ‘a Google Maps for the Red Cross’ in the UK, which would enable its people to rapidly cross-reference a huge range of geographical information and make strategic decisions on their critical services.

Bringing a vision to life

Bringing innovation to life requires the right conditions. Zuhlke was honoured to work on this exciting project, and apply Lean UX led design and development to quickly take it from ‘concept’ to ‘reality’. The aim? To efficiently steer the project through the right stages of development to create a user-centred map that would elegantly deliver complex data to their member’s fingertips. 

The right people for the job

Assembling the right team was essential. We put together a small but efficient Agile cross-functional team of three developers, a product owner and UX designer. To be quick and effective the Zuhlke UX team was an integral part of the Agile cross-functional team.

The gold standard – a lean UX approach

A major advantage of the Lean UX process compared to classic UX design, is less wasted effort. Rather than creating piles of documentation and briefs, which become outdated when something changes, we create shared understanding, collaborate, co-create solutions and test with the end-users. Beyond the development and product team, we collaborated closely with other teams such as copy, brand, marketing, legal and compliance. We build on top of this foundation, incorporating the users’ feedback into the solution – in other words User Centred Design.

Understanding the ‘right amount of process’ in order to be effective is a vital part of UX strategy – having a deep understanding of the methods available to know which is best suited for each problem, then investing just the right amount of effort.

The process

Our Lean UX process:

  1. Understand the problem
  2. Generate a potential solution
  3. Test it with the users
  4. Iterate and optimise

We started off with a discovery phase, focused on stakeholder interviews, ‘jobs to be done’ workshops and user interviews, to precisely understand the problem BRC was trying to solve. To make the transition from ‘thoughts’ to specific potential ‘solutions’ we ran ideation workshops and UX white boarding sessions, which helped us yielding low fidelity prototypes.

Validating UX assumptions with users

Two rounds of user testing were conducted to validate our potential solution. In round one most of the participants completed the user testing tasks successfully, but we learned where we could improve it further. For example, some users had trouble navigating through the interface, finding filters and remembering the set of applied filters. The interface also needed some visual improvements.

We incorporated the findings in the solution and then tested an improved version. Once we felt confident with the users’ feedback we started work on UI design, following BRC brand guidelines and standard accessibility guidelines. To ensure the collaboration between the design and front-end dev team was efficient and easy, we used Zeplin to turn the designs into specs and guidelines.


From a user experience perspective, the outcome was an intuitive interface the user found it “easy to interact with” and a minimal and clean design.

In terms of the development process, the Lean UX approach encouraged collaboration, efficiency and put the user exactly where they should be – in the centre.

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