Behind the scenes of the ‘national’ application

Behind the scenes of the national application - Photo 1.

NCOVI . application system development team

On a positive note, the unprecedented problems caused by COVID-19 are the catalyst for Vietnam’s stronger and more inclusive digital transformation.

Nguyen Huy Hoang

CLate afternoon of March 6, 2020, Nguyen Huy Hoang received an incoming call. Outside the emergency meeting room of the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control, Nguyen Tien Cuong, director of VNPT-IT’s Innovation Center, conveyed an urgent plan: perfecting the notification application. public health information as soon as possible.

48 hour race

At that time, the bad developments of the disease began to kick in when patient number 17 was discovered. “Me and a designer friend went straight to the meeting.

Along the way, the two still hadn’t realized the importance of the project – recalls Hoang – There were no written instructions, no follow-up to the standard settings, the requirement was that within 48 hours the project must be completed. developed an application for all Vietnamese people to declare their health status, epidemiological schedule and receive official information.

An unprecedented mission.”

The first two prototypes (prototypes) were born right at the meeting. The team of interface designers, application engineering and security systems run at the same time. “Friendly design, easy-to-understand content and stable operation even in the event of a spike in traffic”, Hoang reviews the three most important requirements set for NCOVI.

Usually the development of any application starts with user research. Under the pressure of time, Mr. Hoang’s design teams decided to “take a shortcut” by looking at the most downloaded popular apps in Vietnam that almost everyone needs – from calling a car, shopping to ordering. food.

“The argument is that if users already have experience with a certain layout, when I do the same, they won’t have to learn a new design style anymore,” he explains.

In the midst of information chaos, the strategy is that artistically, this application must look credible with coherent presentation of content. “Beauty is difficult to say, but it is necessary to create trust.

Large font size – from a subjective point of view of design, no one will do that, but we determine that we serve even those who are not very sharp eyes”, Mr. Hoang recalled the guidelines that the design team had set. planned from the beginning.

The first interface, also known as the “golden land” among designers, must provide all the information the user needs and minimize page turning or searching.

At the end of March 9, NCOVI was released on two popular application markets of Android and iOS and quickly climbed to the top. After only about 3 months, there were 7 million downloads with more than 16 million voluntary medical declarations sent.

“After 4 outbreaks, we now have a dedicated department to operate the system, collect feedback and update new functions. Every time I enter a cafe or public place, I use NCOVI to scan the QR code to record “I was here” to facilitate tracing if a situation occurs,” Hoang shared.

Behind the scenes of the national application - Photo 3.

Mr. Nguyen Huy Hoang – Head of UX/UI Design Department of VNPT-IT

The push from the incident

As the developer of the interface for the National Public Service Portal and the Government Reporting Information System – key digital transformation projects, Nguyen Huy Hoang believes that the pandemic can be a catalyst to speed up the process. digital transformation in the public sector.

“For the National Public Service Portal, services are provided based on the typical needs of each human stage. For example, when you are born, you need to make a birth certificate, when you go to school, you need to register for school, register for marriage, go to work, buy a house, buy a car,” Hoang explained.

The pandemic can be considered as an “event” in every citizen’s life, building applications to meet the needs arising in urgent times depends heavily on the data platform and system. available design.

“It is possible to imagine the national database connection axis as a water pipe that departments and localities can poke to push data upwards, and at the same time receive data smoothly from top to bottom,” he said. said more.

More than 80% of Vietnam’s population over the age of 15 has a smartphone, according to a study by Google and the Mobile Marketing Association in 2018. However, for the digital transformation in the public sector to really work. , technology products need to pay more attention to user experience.

“National” applications need to ensure they run well on most devices and are easily accessible to users of different technology levels, Hoang said. This must start with understanding user needs.

“This is a great advantage for programmers and experience designers in Vietnam, as we share a common culture and usage habits. Although Vietnam’s position is still very modest on the digital transformation map, I see optimistic signals from an increasing number of public applications being developed with user-centricity,” he hoped. .

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