McMaster's Health System Evidence Search Engine

Improved access to global research.


- Category

UI/UX Design

- Project

Responsive Web application

- Client

McMaster University

Free Access Point for Evidence to Support
policy makers, stakeholders and researchers

- Description

With more than 11,000 registered users, McMaster’s Health Evidence System is the world’s most comprehensive, free access point for policy makers, stakeholders and researchers interested in health systems. Along with with our partners at Functional Imperative we were tasked to update and revitalize the HSE website. This meant creating a fully responsive site, with a powerful open search function, an extensive filtering system, a guided search option, the ability to save preferred searches, save retrieved documents and export results.

By nature the website is text heavy therefore our design tasks included making the site less impenetrable, more navigable and ultimately more readable and digestible. We started by understanding the width and breadth of a regular search, then the multitude of levels necessary for good open search and lastly how it might be simplified through nesting information. This helped us understand what was necessary to create a mobile interface (mobile first) that could be efficiently navigated by inexperienced and power users alike. This began with laying down the rules for a solid typographic hierarchy that could work seamlessly across all devices. After beginning with mobile, the learnings were extrapolated to other devices up to desktop sizes.

"We’re excited to launch the latest version of Health Systems Evidence – a powerful tool to help health-system policymakers, stakeholders and researchers rapidly identify research evidence about how to strengthen health systems and get the right programs, services and drugs to those who need them," "For all those looking for evidence to support policy decisions, we’re trying to help you do this better or more efficiently."
- Dr. John N. Lavis, Director of the McMaster Health Forum (

- Deliverables

UI / UX Design, Fully annotated Files for Development

- Credits

Overdrive Design Limited: Creative Direction, UI/UX design, Graphic design, Project management
Code: Functional Imperative

- Links

Visit the live Health System Evidence (HSE) website:

Read a press release about the project at:

Information on what HSE is, click here to learn more.

- More Info

Responsive View of UI

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Filter Functionality

This is an example of the search engine’s filter functionality as a user would drill down from left to right.

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Examples of the typographic and information hierarchy that Overdrive established for the user interface.

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