Ignacia Orellana

Helping GOV.UK users get Coronavirus support

by Ignacia

Image of a hand holding a smartphone, zoomed into the screen. On the screen there is the GOV.UK coronavirus page dedicated to providing information, guidance and support for coronavirus


In March 2020 the coronavirus pandemic had just hit the UK. Many users impacted by coronavirus were searching on GOV.UK for the help they could get from the government.

Support was becoming available, but there were still significant gaps in policy areas - for example what to do if you don’t have access to food, or are struggling with mental health. This was especially the case for people who were vulnerable but non-shielded.

To address these gaps a team was set up to provide rapid information and support on GOV.UK.

My role and approach

I joined as a service designer to advocate for user centered design by building up our understanding of users quickly using data and playing back to senior stakeholders, highlighting gaps in policy to expose vulnerable people’s unmet need and support the case for new policies to be developed.

We rapidly curated content and support from local government and charities for users where policy in central government was missing. We also enabled users to find support in all regions of the UK.

I also zoomed out and mapped the entire service provision for coronavirus support on GOV.UK, NHS and key charities to ensure user journeys, teams, and services were joined up.

I ran a workshop with a multidisciplinary team to reflect on the design and technical decisions we’ve made when creating the tool, identify where power and privilege lay, and support the team to understand who we are excluding and how we can shift power to the user.


Working with content and interaction designers, and developers we designed, launched, and iterated the ‘Find support if you have been affected by coronavirus’ tool. This provided guidance and support to thousands of vulnerable people from April 2020 to March 2022 when it was retired. We launched the service in 2 weeks, and have iterated it since.

Developed an MVP version of the tool for going live - designing flows and curating content

A screenshot of a sketch of a user flow. There are multiple screen and routes for the user to go through

Launched the 'Find support if you are affected by coronavirus' tool in April 2020

A screenshot of the start page for the Find support tool

Ran a ‘Power & Privilege’ workshop to reflect on the design and technical decisions we’ve made

A screenshot of a sequence of live screens from the user flow. There are pink and yellow post it notes next to the screens where team members have added notes

Mapped the Covid19 service provision and content estate on GOV.UK and how it connects to NHS, local government and charities

An image of a diagram showing the different coronavirus services and guidance on GOV.UK and where it connects or hand off to NHS website, local government and charities.

With Hannah Jump, Conor Delahunty, and the coronavirus teams on GOV.UK