Wellcome Trust and MQ

Increasing diversity in mental health research

MQ: Transforming Mental Health is an international mental health research charity. Wellcome Trust is a scientific and biomedical research charity. Both organisations are based in London, UK.

LovedBy were asked to help Wellcome Trust and MQ take an user-centred approach to building their mental health and BAME community research platforms. The vision was a more user focussed platform, built around needs, to enable Wellcome and MQ to:

  • Speak to a more diverse range of people within the BAME community affected by mental health
  • Understand the problems and frustrations researchers and participants were experiencing and design solutions accordingly 
  • Provide the general public with a better understanding of mental health and mental health research
  • Offer avenues of support to those with mental health challenges 
  • Build trust and confidence in mental health research within BAME communities

The challenge

MQ’s ambition, and challenge to us, was two-fold. Firstly, design a platform which helps institutions perform better mental health research while improving the experience for research participants. Understand how to increase the diversity of research recruitment – especially within BAME communities. And secondly, devise an approach to designing better products and services for building a (mental health) research community to recruit ‘high quality’ participants.

Our approach

Using MQ’s extensive network we spoke with BAME communities and research institutions across the UK to understand the complex barriers to taking part in, and recruiting for, mental health research studies. 

The insight informed the design and prototyping a new platform for both mental health researchers and participants suffering from mental health problems.


With a focus on content and UI design we prototyped a platform and UI designed around core users needs. Working with mental health communities we worked to test and introduce new and relevant content and features to elevate the user experience, and reduce friction and frustration, including 20 key opportunity areas to add to MQ’s backlog. 

Our work included:

  • Understanding and documentation of the separate user journeys for researchers and participants including early design fiction and experience vision creation
  • The design and delivery of a more relevant and representative user interface
  • A future facing ‘service blueprint’ for the platform
  • A prioritised opportunity roadmap supported by mini business cases
  • UX and UI designs for the new platform including high fidelity prototypes

Skillsets and expertise provided as part of our work with MQ:

  • Design research
  • Service design
  • User experience design
  • User interface design
“LovedBy worked with us to navigate a complex topic and helped us to deliver valuable and meaningful insights to support our ongoing work in the area. From conception to delivery, the project progressed at speed, with significant uncertainty and tight timelines. We were really pleased with the insights LovedBy gathered and the outputs set our project up for the next phase of development.”
Neil Balmer
Director of Strategy, Engagement and Communications

Want to find out more?

If you'd like to find out more about this project, and others, get in touch with some of the people who worked as part of the team.

Christel Wolthoorn

Christel Errill Wolthoorn

Managing Director


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