[community] Is COVID Alert an Inclusive Design Fail?

Michael Furdyk mfurdyk at takingitglobal.org
Tue Aug 4 21:17:36 UTC 2020


There's a thread here I saw on Twitter yesterday that asked about this and
looped in some of the CDS (Canada Digital Service) team members involved:
https://twitter.com/MobileAppQueen/status/1290416036295122944

The summary is that if they didn't use the official APIs (integrated in iOS
13.5) the phone would have to be left on with the app open for it to work.
They have provided feedback to Apple to see if this functionality could be
pushed into an iOS 12 update... but that might not be possible because of
the iPhone 6 having Bluetooth 4.0 and the limitations of that version on
the hardware side.

- Michael


On Tue, Aug 4, 2020 at 5:04 PM Justin Obara <obara.justin at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi John,
>
> I haven’t tried the app, but it may be using the new APIs that Apple and
> Google developed to help with contact tracing. They worked together to
> create this rather quickly, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they only work on
> the latest OSs. You can see more info from Google’s Exposure Notification <
> https://www.google.com/covid19/exposurenotifications/> page and Apples
> Newsroom post: “Apple and Google partner on COVID-19 contact tracing
> technology <
> https://www.apple.com/ca/newsroom/2020/04/apple-and-google-partner-on-covid-19-contact-tracing-technology/>”.
> It sounds like they are going to build the functionality into the platforms
> eventually, but I’m not sure if that means it will be available on older
> OSs.
>
> Thanks
> Justin
>
> > On Aug 4, 2020, at 4:37 PM, John W (personal) <pickupwillis at gmail.com>
> wrote:
> >
> > the new Covid Alert app just released in Ontario apparently requires
> users
> > to have the latest device / software, leaving low-income and more
> > marginalized folks -- aka people most likely to contract the virus -- out
> > of the loop.
> >
> > I verified this myself yesterday when I could not install it to my
> iPhone 6
> > because it requires iOS 13.5
> >
> > WTF? is this an inclusive design fail of top ranking, or can someone with
> > greater technical knowledge dismiss my budding outrage?
> >
> > maybe it's just an MVP, okay - but surely the communication on this is
> > feeble and misguided because word is already out that it's for the
> > privileged few. Sheesh!
> >
> > j
> >
> > --
> >
> > *John D. Willis | CE CAIP MDes*
> > Design & Innovation in Public Services
> > Toronto CANADA
> >
> > Garbled text? My apologies - speech-to-text technology is still a work in
> > progress...
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