Here's the whole story

We were inspired, as public health professionals and community members experiencing the ripple effects  of Covid-19, by the needs we see around us for social connection and informational support. There is a plethora of resources from data tracking to mutual aid springing forth from the global response to Covid-19. However, there is a gap for resources that acknowledge the resulting emotional and mental toll from processing this information, in addition to living in uncertain conditions.  The need for social support is compounded by the overwhelming amount of information, the growing fragmentation of social services, and increased physical and social isolation.

We originally envisioned a webpage that would pool and map existing peer support resources helping the public combat Covid-19 distress to reduce the siloing of programs that is so common in public health practice. However, we were struck by the abundance of crowd-sourced or redundant Covid-19 resources, and the lack of guidance to find or interpret them. This, combined with our expertise in social support, led to the current decision tree wireframe as a way to guide users to the informational and social support resources they’re looking for. Simultaneously, the website moderates and validates feelings of isolation, uncertainty, concern, and the overwhelming gap between didactic information and public understanding. (see attached Conceptual Model).

We’ve built our content and wireframe using MindMeister, Google Drive, and Figma. None of us have the expertise to code the backend of a full website, so we have recruited help on the Hackathon Slack and connected to others experienced in coding and UI/UX. We foresee these individuals working with us in building out and expanding our hackathon prototype into a full website beyond this weekend’s Hackathon and look forward to continued feedback and connections with other Hackers to help us with this process. For the mid-term future, we’ve discussed using API and web scraping strategies for data displays. We would also like to collect feedback from site users on what they need from the government and offer letter templates that they can send to their elected officials. For the extended-term future, we see this website pivoting to non-Covid-19 purposes, but with similar guided prompts to resources.

We’ve faced obvious and non-obvious challenges. The former includes our lack of back-end coding knowledge, while the latter includes ensuring we stay focused on creating a useful product to the public. As public health practitioners ourselves, we took inventory of our strengths and leveraged those to address our challenges by networking with fellow Hackers and embracing the iterative prototyping process.


-Social connectedness
-Social isolation
-Social support
-Encouraging reliable info sources
-Plain language and health literacy

What it does

Covid-19, Simplified is an evidence-based website that provides clear information and resources about Covid-19 by walking users through a series of easily understandable questions about their current experience. It is not only a source of social support resources but also a form of social support in and of itself through the provision of information. Covid-19, Simplified helps users cut through information overload and access reliable information and resources that will help them process and cope during this pandemic.

How I built it

Using research on peer and social support, public health emergency responses, and our own experiences, our team brainstormed a series of questions and resources common to the coronavirus pandemic. We then created a mindmap of information and resources based on a decision tree, and transferred content development into Figma to create a mockup website.

Challenges I ran into

The primary challenge was in trying to create a helpful website without recreating previous efforts or overwhelming users while maintaining a sustainable scope of resources to include. Additionally, as a group of public health professionals, we have a varied and limited set of coding and developer knowledge. To create our prototype and receive additional input from industry professionals we requested help on the Hackathon Slack channel and reached out to our own networks.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

We created a guided prototype that allows us the flexibility to add and redirect users to information based on their current needs. A few key informants relayed that the website mockup is intuitive, user-friendly, and more comforting than other available resources. We are incredibly proud of the content and design work we have achieved in this short time span, especially working on a digital medium outside most of our expertise.

What I learned

There are a number of organizations providing helpful and informative resources in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is extremely difficult to strike the right balance between accurate, informative, helpful, and acknowledging the scary and overwhelming reality we are living in now. Yet many organizations are working in silos, reproducing efforts, or not bridging the gap between providing information and user comprehension. Plus...we learned more about web design!

What's next for Covid-19, Simplified

We would like to turn this mockup prototype into a functional website, and anticipate seeking funding and partnerships with developers and designers who share our commitment to public service. The first wave of functionality will likely remain a basic source of information and resources related to four core decision tree pathways. Moving forward, we would like to investigate API and web scraping use for data displays, and expand on a peer support model and content on peer support training. Additionally,  we hope to include evidence-based resources on grieving and trauma for our communities as well as resources specific to the needs and concerns of essential and frontline workers. We hope to continue providing well-researched, relevant information to the public as we all progress through the phases of this pandemic together.

Try It out



figma, google-drive, mindmeister

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