The NHS Coronavirus App
"We are currently developing our NHS coronavirus app, which is being trialled on the Isle of Wight. When rolled out nationally this app will supplement the other forms of contact tracing."
There have been early reports that many users have downloaded the app and are actively participating. Hopefully they are usability testing it and fixing the bugs before they release it and maybe that's why it's taking so long.
This is great news and anything that will help to get us out of this situation is a good thing and should be encouraged by us all.
Sharing information about your recent contacts
"If you get a positive test, we will contact you and ask you to share information about any close contacts you had just before or after you developed symptoms."
There is a general concern amongst potential future users that contacts and recent journeys are not something they wish to disclose because they do not know where that data is going to be stored and used.
When we contact you
"If the NHS test and trace service contacts you, the service will use text messages, email or phone."
There is a general concern amongst potential future users that there is no possible way to assure them that they are actually talking to an official NHS representative.
What we will ask you
"We will ask you to provide, where possible, the names and contact details (for example, email address, telephone number) for the people you have had close contact with."
As there is a general concern amongst potential future users about the authenticity of the caller it makes answering questions uncomfortable.
How this information is used
"Based on the information you provide, we will assess whether we need to alert your contacts and ask them to self-isolate."
There is nothing here that gives any assurance to users where their data is stored, how it is shared and who it is shared with. There is also a concern that this data could be used for other means.
The Importance Of User Trust
Whatever the case, trust is a big issue and one that we should all think about when building products and services for users.
If you do not have trust from users it will be difficult to engage.
They really need to look at these issues to build confidence in potential future users but I also hope the use of the app and user adoption improves.