Forum: Less tech-savvy people may have issues with digital check-in system

I recently visited a shopping mall that implemented the digital check-in registration system called SafeEntry, which logs visits by individuals to hot spots and venues.

At the mall's entrance, I was directed to a wall poster to scan a QR code that led me to a website requesting my personal information via the SingPass Mobile app or manual input.

While I completed my registration without any hassle because I already have SingPass Mobile installed in my phone, I noticed how the less tech-savvy, mainly the older adults, struggled with getting their registration done. This created a crowd of about 10 to 15 people at the mall's entrance.

Here are some reasons why people may find the system challenging to use and suggestions to improve it:

First, not all phones have an in-built QR code reader. Unlike newer phone models that have built-in code reader functions in their camera app, older phone models require users to download third-party apps in order to scan QR codes.

Displaying a simplified website address on the poster may help some who are familiar with their phone's Web browser but do not have a QR code reader installed.

Second, there seemed to be no alternatives for visitors who had problems scanning the code. Those who did not carry a smartphone or who did not have Internet access could not proceed.

Third, the posters and website are in English, so any information is rendered useless if the visitor is not English-literate. The Government and businesses should consider having multiple languages to communicate the use of the registration service.

Fourth, we have constantly been warned against providing our personal information, such as NRIC number, online due to rising scam cases. Some may be wary when presented with a request for such information, albeit for effective contact tracing should the need arise.

Here, reassurances from the authorities on how the information will be used should be provided.

I commend the quick inception of government digital services such as the TraceTogether app and SafeEntry. When designing for the public, inclusive design is important in ensuring the solutions are as accessible as possible.

Businesses, too, have a part to play if they wish to retain their customers, and should not assume third-party digital systems cover all their needs.

Instead, they must continue to come up with creative ways to manage customer anxiety in the time of a pandemic.

Serene Yap