Not Only for Contact Tracing: Use of Belgium's Contact Tracing App among Young Adults

Oshrat Ayalon, Sophie Li, Bart Preneel, Elissa M. Redmiles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many countries developed and deployed contact tracing apps to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. Prior research explored people's intent to install these apps, which is necessary to ensure effectiveness. However, adopting contact tracing apps is not enough on its own, and much less is known about how people actually use these apps. Exploring app use can help us identify additional failures or risk points in the app life cycle. In this study, we conducted 13 semi-structured interviews with young adult users of Belgium's contact-tracing app, Coronalert. The interviews were conducted approximately a year after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our findings offer potential design directions for addressing issues identified in prior work - such as methods for maintaining long-term use and better integrating with the local health systems - and offer insight into existing design tensions such as the trade-off between maintaining users' privacy (by minimizing the personal data collected) and users' desire to have more information about an exposure incident. We distill from our results and the results of prior work a framework of people's decision points in contact-tracing app use that can serve to motivate careful design of future contact tracing technology.

Original languageEnglish
Article number202
JournalProceedings of the ACM on Interactive, Mobile, Wearable and Ubiquitous Technologies
Issue number4
StatePublished - 11 Jan 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
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  • COVID-19
  • Contact Tracing
  • Decision Model
  • Interviews
  • Privacy
  • User Study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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