Cancer Research UK Amazon Echo proof of concept

Rapidly prototyping to prove the power of voice assistants

Campaign: Concept development | Experience: Service and User Experience design

Cancer Research UK’s pioneering work into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer has helped save millions of lives. Together with its partners and supporters, CRUK’s vision is to bring forward the day when all cancers are cured. The charity’s About Cancer website attracts over 1 million visitors per month.

The digital innovation team at CRUK is exploring how new technologies can help the organisation achieve its ambitious long-term goal of raising the cancer survival rate to 75% over the next twenty years.

One of the avenues they wanted to investigate was whether home assistants like Amazon Echo could be used to increase supporter engagement and disseminate cancer information more easily. Having worked with CRUK since our inception, we were a natural choice to help the team explore the potential of this new technology.

What we did

We donated some time to build a proof of concept to show senior stakeholders how Amazon Echo could be used to share cancer information with those who need it in a new way, via a conversational interface.

Over the course of a single day, we worked with the digital innovation team at Cancer Research UK to rapidly prototype three different proof of concept propositions.

We have experience of designing conversation models that are intuitive and which allow users to interact with the Echo in meaningful, useful ways. This helped us point out natural extensions to these high level concepts which would further enhance the experience of users who needed to access cancer information using voice control, and provided guidance on the feasibility of delivering them via Alexa skills.

How it went

The proof-of-concept prototypes have been used to demonstrate to senior stakeholders, and the wider team at CRUK, the potential of conversational interfaces for providing a new way to access cancer information. This led to the project receiving support for a second phase of development.

“We knew they were an innovative organisation willing to work in an Agile way. We were able to produce a prototype in next to no time,which we’ve now used to engage teams across the organisation and help us move to the second phase of the project.” – Paul Weaver, Digital Innovation Manager, CRUK

How this helps us on your project

Our expertise in user experience design extends far beyond the web and can help you engage audiences across a variety of technologies and touch-points. We’re able to rapidly prototype concepts to prove their potential impact for an organisation and our early adoption of Alexa Voice Service technology makes us pioneers in the rapidly evolving world of conversational interface development.


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