My Covid Record
My Covid Record was an essential part of the government’s Covid-19 response and was integral to easing lockdown restrictions in 2021 and getting the country moving again. It was used by 3.4 million Kiwis to generate vaccine certificates, upload test results and more. All while being praised by the public for its ease of use.
The onset of a global pandemic meant the Ministry of Health urgently needed to produce a public-facing digital platform that could support the government's Covid-19 response. Because they had been primarily focused on policy and funding up to this point, they had no existing digital foundations to build from. We needed to deliver what might typically take years, in a matter of weeks…
With policy changing at breakneck speed, the requirements for the platform were still unfolding in real-time. Without a clear road map or prioritisation of features, we stayed prepared for any eventuality.
But even as the immediate requirements for My Covid Record were in flux, we kept our eyes on the longer term. The Ministry were also preparing to enact major health sector reforms which would include a broader programme of digitised public health channels in the future.
This meant My Covid Record not only needed to meet the needs of today - but have the potential for reuse tomorrow. We began to create a scalable, modular self-service platform that could flex for many use cases.
Parallel to My Covid Record, Alphero had been designing a digital health identity platform for the Ministry. This would be a centralised mechanism for authentication which linked users with their National Health Index number.
In the future, approved health applications could hand-off to the platform for secure login before providing people with their personal health data. My Covid Record now became the first consumer for this platform and the transition needed to be frictionless from the get-go.
It was critical that My Covid Record would be an equitable solution, able to meet the needs of all Aotearoa. To ensure this, we conducted extensive user research and consulted with advocacy groups including Māori and Pasifika communities, the disabled and the elderly. This feedback led to continuous iterations of the design and helped to ensure that the platform was accessible, intuitive and inclusive.
The visual identity for My Covid Record also had to be created from scratch and feel different from traditional government sites - providing a warm, inclusive, inviting and safe environment for all its users.
With final decisions on the look and feel still to be confirmed weeks out from go-live, our designers created a flexible design system using themeable tokens. This allowed the rest of the build to continue, with each component created independently from the brand. Developers could plug in different tokens to seamlessly apply each style across the site.
The code was also architected so that all features were independent, making it possible to add or remove them as the requirements changed - without breaking the system.
My Covid Record complies with the highest accessibility standards without compromising the overall experience. Our developers achieved this by utilising third-party libraries and their own code to maintain elegant interactions that are simple and intuitive. As a result, My Covid Record has been widely praised by the public for its ease of use.
Despite the magnitude and pressure of the project, we delivered a platform of technical excellence, which is extremely modern at every level.
This is better than best practice. This is what best practice will be.
Senior Web Developer, Alphero
With more than 200,000 people onboarding in the first hours, My Covid Record has since seen 3.5 million people sign up. That’s 63% of the total population! The site has supported the successful generation of 5.5 million vaccine passes and certificates and the self-reporting of over 2 million RAT results to date.
At a critical point in our pandemic journey, My Covid Record provided the proof-point Kiwis needed to safely re-enter their communities. It has also helped to fast-track the future of digitised public health with 3.3 million of us now equipped to access online health services. As platform it has become an exemplar for Te Whatu Ora - Health New Zealand.
Its modular design now forms the basis of a common design system and pattern library that’s being used by many to create more online health services. As the variety of these expands, the opportunities for Kiwis to access, share and update their own and their family’s health information will continue to increase.