Designing the world’s first global COVID-19 Tracking App - Case Study

Updated: Dec 17, 2020

In February 2020 I was contacted by an IT agency to design the GeoHealthApp.

The first global COVID-19 tracking App, the first one in Germany to be published and most importantly: an anonymous App which applies to the data protection laws.

UIUX Design GeoHealthApp

Problems


As we were a small team (consisting of doctors, developers, project managers and me as the only UI/UX designer) in comparison to the government-backed developer companies we had to work even more efficiently, on a small budget.

Main development and design obstacles were: 1. Time pressure to get the App on the market as fast as possible

2. Following data protection standards

3. Being remarkably different to the other COVID-19 Tracking-Apps worldwide


Goals


1. Creating an App that people voluntarily want to use

2. Being the first global App on the market

3. Retain the consistent usage

4. Including every country and their main languages


Proposal


Making an App that is:

- Human-centred

- User-friendly

- Equipped with an understandable clickstream

- Accessible

Standard functions:

- Using a traffic light to show if the user might have been in contact with an infected person during the last 14 days. If so, the traffic light changes the color. (Data older than that gets deleted)

- Giving general tips about how to behave with/without symptoms.

- Uploading a picture of a positive test result, blacken all the personal data

- Special idea, to make the App unique:

Creating a map-function where users can locate themselves and check their environment for risk areas which they should avoid going to.

- Another map which shows rough locations of global users to publicly see where the app is used most

- Being able to choose location and language from most countries in the world


Design Process


My Role in the team


As I was the only UI/UX designer my task of creating the design was clear.

Some design-thinking processes were done by the team already, I have also gotten presented a first version of the Lo-Fi wireframe.

My role really started with reviewing Step 1- 4 of the design process, giving my feedback and adding ideas. Step 5 was entirely my part. In Step 6 I was deeply involved.

Altogether, as every design thinking process, I was through feedback and ideation involved in every step of the process.


Scope


User: Anyone using a smartphone, every age

Market: Global market


Potential user interviews - Pain points


Users were mainly concerned about their and their friends & relatives health, therefore everyone understood and supported the fact of the app being published ASAP and therefore kept short and easy to use.

- Useable during the daily life

- Using it whenever they want and not being bothered by unnecessary interruptions

- For free

- Less battery usage

- Anonymity


Key Quotes:


„The app should be made free, so everyone can use it.“

„It’s important that older people like me can easily navigate through the app.“

„I don’t want interruptions, I want to use it whenever I feel like I need it!

„I don’t want to give away my privacy!“

„Please be fast building the App!“


Design principles


After having learned more about the user persona through the interviews the goal was to create an App that directly maintains the relation between the interviews and the UI Design.


1. Simple

The interface of this app is supposed to be simple to use. The users don’t need to learn unknown design patterns.

2. Polite

The design should be beneficial and accessible to the user. There should be no insignificant disturbances with many notifications.

3. Seamless integration

Each user has a unique schedule and habits. The experience needed to seamlessly integrate into their daily lives without any complicated steps.

4. Calmness instead of anxiety

A friendly interface with hopeful and helpful content instead of worrying content.


User Journey


The client preferred (because of quarantine & remote work reasons) to create a spreadsheet.


Lo-Fi Wireframe (Partly)


Hi-Fi Wireframe / Prototype (Partly)


Conclusion


Based on the interviews with participants and researchers, we have devised a definite pattern. The client was very satisfied with the final product.

Unfortunately, due to funding insufficiency of the project, many of my demanded final design and UX changes did not get integrated anymore. Understandably, the general functioning of the App had higher priority for the project managers than “small” (but very important changes, in the eyes of an UI/UX Designer). Our App was published before the government-backed version and is therefore the first german and still the first global App to be in the stores, therefore the project was a big success.


What can I do better?


1. Research about the features and results of competitors.

2. Select participants from different areas.

3. Stronger communicative skills to prove the necessity of certain UX standards.

4. Improving the “developer-tongue” for more precise transformation from prototype to developed App.


Learnings:


- Importance of operating system-specific patterns and sizes.

- Working with long-time experienced project managers and a team of doctors taught me a lot about patience in hectic times and strengthened my positive attitude towards „bigger“ obstacles. I am grateful for having gotten the chance to be part of this amazing project and having been able to do good for humanity, with my work.