How does the SwissCovid app compare to the German Corona-Warn-App – an even quicker and dirtier comparison
After the German Corona-Warn-app was released last week, there is now also a Swiss equivalent - the SwissCovid app. In the following article, Simon Harder compares the two apps with each other in an "even quicker and dirtier" UX/Usability review. And it seems that the Swiss have read our last article about the German app...
My colleague Jan Panhoff wrote a quick and dirty UX review of the German Corona app a couple of days ago and it seems the Swiss have read it! In his post, Jan arrived at a mostly positive verdict, but also pointed out a couple of issues with regards to ease of understanding. So what I’ll do here is a quick check of what’s different – and potentially better – in the SwissCovid app.
One of Jan’s main suggestions was that the information on how the app works should be made easier to read and understand, e.g. using bullet points and icons. In comes the SwissCovid app: with short sentences and corresponding icons, dividing the content into bite-sized pieces of information. I imagine this was more or less exactly what Jan had in mind!
However, reducing the amount of information may, of course, lead to questions, e.g. some Android users on the Google Play Store wonder why they need to activate GPS even though the app states it does not use GPS (there is a reason for this, actually).
In terms of languages, the Swiss app appears to offer quite a few more than the German app (11 vs. 2), addressing an important point of criticism. And changing the language does not require changing your phone’s language, at least on an iPhone.
On the app’s main screen, it becomes apparent that the developers really did read Jan’s post 😉 His main concern was that users could be unsure whether the app would remain active in the background – and the SwissCovid app communicates this right at the top.
Personally I’m also happy that they went for a simple check mark to indicate that the app is active – I still cannot figure out why the German developers went for a non-standard status icon, which I need to tap on every time to make sure I understand it correctly.
Otherwise, the apps are structured similarly, although I appreciate that the German app provides a few more details, like the last time the app data was updated. Also, it communicates the number of days I have been using the app, providing some light positive reinforcement to continue using it.
In the SwissCovid app, I like that they not only address the users’ need “I have been tested, what now?”, but also the step before: “What do I do if I have symptoms?” The latter seems to be missing from the German app, at least it’s not as prominent.
It seems SwissCovid’s extensive beta test pays off: while it does the same things as the German app fundamentally, it takes a little more care to consider its users’ potential needs and questions, in a way that is easy to digest for most people. The fact that Jan already discussed some of these improvements in his review of the German Corona-Warn-App goes to show that even a very quick expert review can highlight important user needs and support an app’s acceptance and retention.
Now the main task will be to get the country-specific apps to talk to each other...