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Re-building Compassion in Dying’s online advance decision (living will) service

Compassion in Dying approached Hippo with a challenge of rebuilding their online living will service. The charity and service closely aligned to our values and was something we jumped at the chance to work on.

“We’re working with experts: Hippo. They are bringing a combination of user-centred design expertise and market leading technology capability.”


The Website was built and hosted by a third party supplier that could no longer support the service. The tech was no longer supported and couldn’t be decoupled from the rest of the suppliers services. 

CID needed to ensure their service was supported and scalable for the future plans of the charity.

The user experience of the site had a number of pain points and drop offs for its users. It also generated a volume of calls to support to complete the journey that were not sustainable for the future plans of the charity. 

CID needed to ensure the user journey met its customer needs, increasing completion rates and reducing support calls.  


Our team started by working with the charity to understand the service. We delivered a design in a day workshop where we:

  • Reviewed each step of the online journey 
  • Reviewed analytics data
  • Interviewed the operations team to understand the customer queries 
  • Identified the technical capabilities needed 

This allowed us to identify what areas required research and design to improve user experience and to design the underlying technical platform to deliver the site. 

Our Interaction Designers leveraged the Gov and NHS Service Manuals and Design Systems, utilising  existing components to create a Design System for Compassion in Dying. This allowed us to quickly prototype the new site whilst resolving basic user experience and accessibility issues. Through targeted rounds of research and design, we were able to improve and resolve issues with the more bespoke and complex areas of the service. This ensured value for money for the charity.

Designing and developing the service was only the start of the journey with Compassion in Dying. As an organisation they weren’t set up to run and host an online service. We helped with registration of a number of services, using their charity status to obtain cost reduction or even free of charge services, such as GitHub for code and documentation storage.

Compassion in dying service

AWS was chosen as the hosting platform. We created an AWS organisation, with an account structure, and services such as Control Tower, Secrets Manager, and Identity Centre to align to Well Architected best practice. All infrastructure was deployed using Terraform, which enables easy creation of on-demand development environments to keep hosting costs to a minimum, and we were able to work with our AWS Partner Team to obtain hosting credit for the first year of the service.

The service uses AWS components such as ECS for application hosting, Cognito for user authentication, RDS for storage, and SES for user notifications.

With a service developed and launched Hippo provided Compassion in Dying with ongoing support from our Managed Service team. This includes proactive monitoring, with real-time availability checks automatically alerting the support team and integrated into ZenDesk for incident visibility.


Since its launch in June 2023 the service has achieved 100% up time and been used by over 4,000 people to create their living will.