August 6, 2020

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COVIDSafe continues to reach more in Australia

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Australia’s Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) is continuing to improve COVIDSafe and enhance the user experience, accessibility, performance and security.

The COVIDSafe app securely records when people have been in close contact with other users of the app.

This allows State and Territory health officials to contact people if they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus.

The app only collects minimal information from users and none of that information is accessible without their consent.

COVIDSafe doesn’t reveal the identities of anyone with Coronavirus. It simply alerts anyone who may have been exposed to it, so they can take immediate precautions.

DTA continues to make accessibility enhancements as they work towards complying with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level AA over the next 2 releases.

DTA is certain that the Australian community can continue to have confidence that the app is working securely and effectively. They strongly encourage everyone using COVIDSafe to update to the latest version to benefit from these improvements.

The app now provides better access to COVIDSafe for users whose first language is not English. The more current update translates the app and help topics into the 5 most-spoken languages in Australia. This gives over 1.5 million Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Arabic and Korean speakers a better experience when using the app.

To complement this, the COVIDSafe website also includes help topics in each of these languages. Users can view these translated help topics from the app. DTA is exploring adding more languages to the app and help topics in future releases.

Additionally, the user guide has been trabnslated into 63 languages. The guide provides information on downloading, installing, and registering COVIDSafe and how to make sure it is working correctly.

The agency also continues to improve the accessibility of COVIDSafe. The latest release extends the phone orientation to landscape, allows for dynamic text and makes improvements for people using screen-reader technologies.

In response to user feedback, the agency has provided additional guidance for users whose device operating system automatically optimises the battery. This may result in the COVIDSafe app being disabled.  The COVIDSafe website has updated the help topics to address this issue.

DTA has updated the publicly available application source code in line with the latest release. To make sure the agency can continue to engage strongly with the technology community, direct feedback can be provided within the source code repository.

Earlier releases improved the accessibility for people who use text to speech technology, which helps them navigate and use the COVIDSafe application.

Improvements included better descriptions of fields within the app, such as the age range selection when registering and better recognition of back arrows.

The Digital Transformation Agency is currently working on the next update to the COVIDSafe app, which they plan to release in a couple of weeks.

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