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Travel Safely is an application designed to help Italian citizens organize Covid documents needed to travel in Europe and to consult the travel rules of the various European countries.

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At the beginning of 2021, I analyzed the existing Italian ecosystem related to the management of Covid documents needed to travel in Europe, in order to identify problems and propose solutions.

Major problems

During 2021, the Covid emergency in Europe had a significant impact on travel, with measures that tended to change frequently and had differences depending on the epidemiological situation of a country over a given period of time. These changes made the organization of a trip within the European borders more difficult and uncertain.

In the first months of 2021, there was no centralized digital channel for Italian citizens to visualize their Covid documents such as vaccination certificate or swab results. However, they were fundamental both for evaluating possible infections and for going outside national borders. Each health facility, private or public, managed independently the release of these documents, with different communication channels, times and methodologies. Moreover, at the time, it was very complex to visualize the Covid rules currently in force for entry into a specific European country, discouraging departures.

Ecosystem Map

Project output

Starting from the problems and evaluating different solutions, I designed Travel Safely, a state mobile application that could allow all Italians citizens to access the results of tampons, Covid vaccines and Covid certificates necessary to move freely within the European Union through a verification structure at community level.

Travel Safely has also been conceived as a support for Italian citizens to consult more easily the regulations in case of infection and travel restrictions related to the entry in a specific EU country.

During the process, I focused on the users, trying to identify what type of Italian citizen would travel in the first few months of newly opened European routes and what were their needs.

Travel statistics

First, I looked at pre-pandemic travel statistics for Italian citizens to better understand the trends of Italian travel and to narrow the field of research.

From Istat data, in 2018, out of 78 million trips, those for vacation reasons were 89% out of the total and those for business reasons 11%. Most of the trips had as their main destination domestic locations, but 20% of travelers were directed to EU countries.

In terms of age, the largest segment of the population that travelled for work or leisure during that year was between 25 and 54 years of age. Travel Statistics

Then, I decided to supplement these statistics with some projections about travel behaviors in the near future. In particular, had made some estimates for the future based on researches conducted on over 20,000 travelers in 28 countries, including Italy.

First of all, it was highlighted that remote work has changed the way travel is perceived: more than a third of the travelers surveyed had already thought about booking accommodation to work in a place other than their residence. The analysis also included some thoughts on technology and its role in redefining the world of travels: 64% of travelers surveyed thought it would be important to prevent health risks while travelling.

Potential users

With all this data, it was possible to identify certain types of Italian users who would have travelled in the immediate future.

In particular young people ( high school and university students ) who would have resumed traveling for tourism purposes after the long period of restrictions, workers who would benefit from smart working and would choose the destination in which to settle to work and households with adult members between the ages of 25 and 54.

Semi-structured interviews and needfinding

Based on these premises, I interviewed some Italians who met the characteristics identified above. I identified some problems and needs related to travel in the European Union during the pandemic emergency:

  • The interviewed users would like a single place to store all the Covid certificates necessary for travelling in EU.
  • The majority of the users had issues in finding the Covid travel rules on the website of the Italian Consulate and in particular it was hard for them to find information about minor citizens.
  • Several users reported that they were unsure whether their Covid certificates were valid outside Italy
  • Some users with underage children would prefer keeping their children's certificates with their own in the same place.

Starting from data coming from the interviews, I created some personas and user journeys to mind issues and needs. After that, I identified the main functions that the application should guarantee.


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User Journeys

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1) A direct visualization of vaccines and results from swab tests done in Italy, with all the useful information about validity, expiry and outcome. Also, my solution considered a coordination between public and private facilities for the documents’ release inside the application by means of digital signature and UE interoperability mechanism. It also guaranteed the possibility to manually add into the app the certificates obtained abroad.

2) The possibility to search for a European country to visualize its anti-Covid rules for entry. By selecting a country, it should have been visible if the user had the certificates in compliance with the regulations of the country intended to visit.

3) The possibility for parents to add the children’s certificates into the app in order to have all the family’s documentation in one place.

4) Some functions of support, tutorials and authentication, the latter one by means of SPID (Public Digital Identity System) and CIE (Electronic Identity Card), in order to keep an external coherence with other public applications.

Conceptual Model

At this point, I focused on the visual identity and the prototyping of the application in a way that it would keep an external coherence with the other government applications, and it would integrate the previously identified functionalities.

Visual design choices

For prototyping, I started by employing the UI KIT by designers Italia, a landmark in the design of Italian digital public services and which is a state resource accessible in open source. The kit consists of guidelines on colours, fonts and components to create an accessible application for citizens.

The application’s logo, however, was designed in flat style with geometric shapes that evoke on one hand the image of a flower, which was the symbol of the Italian vaccination campaign, on the other a landscape, which represents the travel beyond our homes. In the centre of the logo, it was inserted the name of the application in order to have it always visible, even in absence of other text that matches the logo. Logo Travel Safely


After some drafts, I built an high fidelity prototype in Adobe XD. It was built with a high level of detail and interactivity with the aim of being as close as possible to a finished product and ensuring the possibility to be tested with real users afterwards.
During the prototyping phase, I created 3 different flows that represent three real scenarios.

In the Vaccination scenario the user has done the Anti Covid vaccine, it can visualize the details of it and always have the European certificate available for travelling. The user can also look for the rules for travelling to a specific EU country and add the certificates of their minors inside the app.

In the Negative test scenario, the user hasn’t done the vaccine yet, so it relies on tests for travelling. In this case, the result of the test is negative, and the app shows the details of the test validity, the expiry date and the European certificate. The user can also browse all the expired tests in a specific section and visualize the travelling rules for the European countries.

In the Positive test scenario the user hasn’t done the vaccine yet and it relies on tests. This time, the test result is positive, and it is shown on the screen. So, the app reports the information on what to do next but it is not possible to visualize any travelling certificate that is released when the result is negative.


In the last phase of the project, the high fidelity prototype was tested on real users. It allowed to identify and redesign the most critical elements in the application.

Users recruitment

Having already defined the target users, I selected the real users who had the outlined characteristics and needs, in such a way to obtain a coherent evaluation with the user research phase.

The first user was a 40 year old middle school teacher with family, she often organizes the holidays with her husband and her underage daughter. The second a 30 years old freelancer, he works in IT and he often travels abroad to work remotely. The third was a 25 year old university student, she usually plans her holiday at the end of the semester after the exams. The last user was a 17 year old highschool student, he often plans his holiday during the summer months with his group of friends.

Methodological aspects of the evaluation

For the evaluation of the app’s usability, I took in exam single tasks related to flows that were previously implemented to test the main functionalities of Travel Safely. In particular:

  • Vaccine certificate visualization: in the first task, the user was asked to visualize his vaccine certificate and all the related information, then add it to his wallet. It was also asked to visualize the expired certificates.
  • UE travel rules visualization: in this case, the user had to look for and comprehend the rules for travelling to France and to visualize a valid Covid document to enter the country.
  • Supplement of a minor’s certificate in the app: in this task, the user was asked to add two minors’ certificates in the application and to visualize their content.
  • Negative test visualization: it was asked to the user to visualize his negative test in the specific section and understand the information about its validity and expiry.
  • Positive test visualization: in the last task, the user was asked to visualize his positive test and understand the guidelines on what to do next to address this situation

The interactive prototype was tested in presence with all the users with an Iphone X that was arranged specifically for the simulation. I personally guided the testing as the moderator, and two colleagues acted as observers who noted down all the users’ errors, opinions and doubts.

It was provided all the information such as the length of the test, the goal of the evaluation and the task to carry out. For the purposes of a correct evaluation, the users were told that they could not be helped in solving the task.

Moreover, it was asked them to think out loud (thinking aloud procedure) to ease data collection. It was attempted to put the users at ease by ensuring them that what were tested were not their digital skills but the usability of the application with the aim to improve it for other users.

Relevant errors

From a qualitative point of view, the users reported that they found the app pleasant, easy and useful. Though the task analysis revealed four main errors that were made by several users, in particular in order of frequency:

  • UE travel rules visualization: 4/4 users didn’t notice the banner at the bottom of the specific page that indicated whether they had the documentation required to entry the country. Their main focus was in the upper part of the page.
  • Positive test visualization: 3/4 users didn’t notice the “further information” link that would have opened another page that summarized all the guidelines on what to do in case of a positive test result, since they didn’t associate that link with the most important information.
  • Vaccine certificate visualization: 2/4 users looked for something that would have enabled them to download the certificate as in image in their camera roll instead of saving it in the Wallet.
  • Negative test visualization: 2/4 users looked for the time of the test in addition to the date since its validity is limited.


In the last part of the first cycle of the User Centered Design, I corrected the interface looking for some solutions to the most common interaction problems previously identified.

The first correction was on the information page about the rules of entry for European countries. The banner was made more graphically visible and it was positioned in the upper part of the screen, so that it won’t become less important in the information hierarchy as it previously used to happen to several users.

Moreover, the whole page was chromatically enhanced in order to highlight the user’s situation in case of entry to a European country. Redesign Prototype - Information

Then I focused on the visualization of a positive test, which caused some issues to the users since it wasn’t clear enough how to deal with the situation and who to contact.

On this screen, it was made more graphically visible, the text was made clearer and more hierarchically important the section to access the relative information, that now replaces the button for the certificate visualization, which didn’t have any real use in this specific contest. Redesign Prototype - Positive Test

The third correction was made to allow to offline download the anti Covid certificate. Initially, only the Wallet was considered as an option to store it, but this caused some misunderstandings to whom the technology was not familiar or to whom expected to store it in its photo gallery.

So, it was developed a button to save it that allows to store it in both ways giving brief information on the methods. In this way, a more autonomous way to offline download the certificate is guaranteed. Redesign Prototype - Save process

The last correction revolved around the summary card of the negative test certificate. In this case, it was added the time of the testing, not only the date, to ease the organization of the travel. Redesign Prototype - Negative Test