UI transitions from Safer Illinois to Illinois app for efficiency 

By Lilli Bresnahan, Staff Writer

On Dec. 2, it was announced that the University will be moving the COVID-19 building access status from the Safer Illinois app to the Illinois app. Eventually, they hope to completely phase out the app. 

Allison Copenbarger Vance, content strategy director at the University, said in an email that this change is intended to take the most-used feature on Safer Illinois, which is the building access status, and add it to the Illinois app. This will hopefully make it easier for students since they’ll only have to go on one app now, and this will be more efficient for University operations. 

According to Vance, the decision to switch to the Illinois app was made by the University administration in consultation with the Rokwire team, technology services, SHIELD and the IT council. 

“The transition was a data-driven decision,” Vance said in an email. “Usage statistics show that people are primarily using the Safer Illinois app for the building access status feature.

“It will be more efficient for University operations because it will streamline the data flow process and the customer service process. We believe this will save staff time and also speed customer service for users.”

Those who created the Safer Illinois app have been welcoming of the transition. The team is now directing their attention toward the Illinois app. 

Sanjay Patel, one of the leaders of the Safer Illinois app, said he was working with the Rokwire team, which is an open source mobile software platform that powers both the Illinois app and the Safer Illinois app, and they noticed a need to build something to help the campus navigate through the pandemic.  

Patel said the original vision was to make the Safer Illinois part of the Illinois app. But, as it was being developed in the summer of 2020, it was decided that it would be the most convenient to separate them.

“Not every community member of the campus community uses the Illinois app,” Patel said. 

According to Vance, the Safer Illinois app will be completely phased out sometime during the spring semester. An exact date has not been decided yet. 

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