Nothing to be embarrassed about

There was a very brief fashion when I was growing up in the eighties for pop stars to advocate the celibate life. Morrissey was forever banging-on about his revulsion for banging and even Boy George reckoned he preferred a nice hot cup of tea. Whether you believed them or not, it provided convenient cover for those who were too pale, interesting and poetic to get a drunken snog at the end-of-term college disco. Things have changed since those days. Even Morrissey is getting some action and everyone else seems to be joining in with gusto leading to a rise in the incidence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

As part of their Embarrassing Bodies strand Channel 4, in conjunction with the Multiplatform team at Maverick TV, had previously developed a web application designed to help users understand what STI risks they face based on a survey of their sexual behaviour.

For the latest series of Embarrassing Bodies:Live from the Clinic (broadcast in May 2013) Channel 4 and Maverick TV approached Realise Digital to re-design and re-build the application.


From the first briefing it was made clear that the tool was to be targeted at mobile devices but that it could not be a mobile application available from the App Store or Google Play. This was to ensure that potential users, particularly from the key target 16-24 age-group, were not put off by having a hefty STI Risk Checker application footprint all over their phone for boyfriends/girlfriends/mums/dads to inadvertently discover.

Realise took a Mobile First design approach ensuring that the application felt like a first class experience for those using it on mobile devices. Then using responsive design and build techniques Realise developed the tool so that it could render effectively on any device so as to encourage users to complete all the questions regardless of how they chose to access it.

The application went live on the same day as an Embarrassing Bodies:Live from the Clinic STI special. Since then it has performed staggeringly well with :

  • 70,000+ completed tests from 85,000 visits – a truly outstanding 88% conversion rate
  • 40,000+ tests completed by users in the target 16-24 age group
  • 60% conversion to additional calls to action displayed at the end of the quiz.

This success is vindication for a design, development and delivery approach which put the young mobile audience at the centre of the thinking.

I'm not convinced such thinking will help us secure Boy George's endorsement for my "Nice Cup of Tea" app but it shouldn't prove a barrier. Your health.