What users think of the Healthy Developments web portal

The results of a web-based survey

User entering survey data

After two years of operating its web portal, the Healthy DEvelopments team asked users for feedback in a web-based survey. The results show that a majority of respondents use the portal regularly and are satisfied with its content, but also have various suggestions how it could be improved.

Who took part in the survey?

From 21 July until 30 September 2015, a pop-up window greeted every visitor of the Healthy Developments portal, proposing that they fill in a brief and anonymous online survey at the end of their visit.

129 people completed the survey, which is about 5% of those who visit the website every month. 51% of the respondents were development practitioners working for German Development Cooperation, 32% development practitioners working for other organisations and 12% experts of academic institutions. The comparatively large proportion of respondents affiliated with German Development Cooperation is likely due to the fact that they received several email reminders to take part in the survey by the Healthy Developments team.

While this sample cannot claim to be representative of all Healthy Developments users, it still provides helpful feedback from several of the portal’s main audiences.

How often do users visit the portal and do they find what they look for?

42% of respondents visit the portal at least once per month, 25% even once a week. A large proportion of them (92%) reported that they found the article, information or document they were looking for.  

Figure Question 4

Are users satisfied with the website?

A large majority of respondents finds the portal useful (46%) or very useful (44%). This result is encouraging and shows that, overall, the Healthy Developments website seems to be on the right way.

Suggestions for website improvements

Respondents also provided useful feedback on portal features that could be improved, including the navigation and menu structure, which should be simplified, the length of articles, which some think should be cut, the coverage of social protection issues, which should be increased, and certain social media features, which should be added. All of these suggestions will be looked into and addressed in the coming weeks and months.

How useful is the German Health Practice Collection (GHPC)?

The GHPC is the flagship publication series of German Development Cooperation in health and social protection. 71% of respondents reported that they knew the GHPC, a finding that is certainly connected to the fact that just over 50% of the sample were GDC staff. Of all those who know the GHPC, 71% reported having read three or more of the GHPC short versions (2-4-pagers), with 46% rating them as very useful and 44% as useful.

33% of respondents had also read three or more of the full versions (ca. 30 pages) of the GHPC case studies, and here, too, their usefulness ratings were encouragingly high: 34% consider them to be very useful, 55% useful. 

Suggestions for the German Health Practice Collection

Two main suggestions emerged from respondents’ feedback on the publication series: Firstly, people felt that efforts should be made to ensure that the case studies promoted continued learning amongst development practitioners and the partner staff they worked with. This could be done through live meetings and/or webinars in which the case studies are discussed and via follow-up operational research of questions the case studies raised.

Secondly, several respondents suggested that the case studies should broaden the Collection’s focus on Good Practices towards an exploration of challenges and critical issues arising during programme implementation, thus facilitating collaborative learning amongst practitioners working with similar approaches and/or addressing similar development challenges.

Thank you for this feedback!

Knowing that a large majority of our regular portal users tend to find what they were looking for and consider it useful is a great encouragement for our team.

As editors of the German Health Practice Collection we are also glad to see that the GHPC case studies are being read and considered useful.

The suggestions to use them even more to promote collaborative learning, and to open the Collection for critical explorations of implementation challenges, provide further support for the GHPC re-orientation which we want to take forward in the coming months.

Your feedback has been very helpful: Thanks a lot to all survey participants!

P.S. Of course, you can us send your feedback anytime (to

by Viktor Siebert and Anna von Roenne

October 2015

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