Image from the Government of Canada.
When developing a new product or solution, an often forgotten element is that a technology’s ascent to success strongly depends on its adoption and utilization. The Covid-19 Alert App is a great example of a product where user adoption depends on more than just the right technology. Since the benefits of this app positively correlates with the number of people who decide to install it, the user experience was put at the forefront of its design and development.
When developing the app, the Canadian Digital Service was aware that privacy concerns would be the major issue preventing users from downloading it. For this reason, they focused on the various ways in which they could build trust with the users. A key step was to determine what information would be important to the user and what was irrelevant. In certain areas they did not want to overwhelm users with unnecessary information which would have the potential to create confusion, while still gaining their understanding and trust. For example, how a one-time key is able to be generated and transmitted to other devices using Bluetooth technology is explained, but the informational text does not go into the intricacies of how.
The idea of removing confusion and establishing trust amongst users was dependent on the privacy issue being addressed. While some areas of the app focused on providing information at a high level, in other areas it was important to provide detailed information. As privacy and security are large areas of concern, the app details where data is not collected: e.g. location, name, address, phone’s contacts, health information of the individual (unless given), and health information of other people around the individual.
This app is an excellent example of how a team can take into consideration the requirements of the user and their concerns. The solution addressed these concerns, increasing the user’s understanding of the app, thus gaining their trust. This lesson applies to other IT platforms, where users and their needs, issues and concerns should always be considered during requirements definition. While you could have developed the best software or want to implement the most efficient system within your organization, a product is only beneficial if stakeholders are willing to use it.