WHO COVID-19 Information Architecture Task List

This is the output from the recent sessions in which I participated with the WHO and experts from around the world. Published now as open-source to be used “to the benefit of humanity”.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how I volunteered to take part in sessions with the World Health Organisation(WHO) and Gerry McGovern. The purpose was to help create a list of tasks that the WHO could use to survey their website users and ask them to identify what’s important to them.

That process is now complete and the list has been published. The survey will start on the WHO website soon.

The results of the survey will go on to inform the information archtecture of subsequent iterations of the site. Which is a grand way of saying that they will make COVID-19 advice easier to find in future. And that could help reduce the impact of the pandemic.

I joined three of the four public sessions and listened to the research findings, advice and input from content specialists, information architecture and user experience experts. The session also included representatives from the WHO and several national governments, public policy-makers, medical professionals and many more besides.

We started with a collation of several sources of raw data and then honed that to produce the list. The process seems simple—remove duplicates, clarify wording, merge similar tasks, remove overlaps—but there are hundreds of hours of effort involved. It’s always surprising how much effort it takes to make complex information seem simple.

To quote Brian Lamb, who led this work alongside Gerry,

This tasklist is due to the work of hundreds of experts and extensive research on what people need. It is an initiative driven by WHO and particularly supported by health organizations from Ireland, Canada, Norway, UK, New Zealand, and Belgium, and the contributions of individuals from many other countries.

Please feel free to use to the benefit of humanity. If you could like to run an adapted version of this survey in your country, please get in touch, it’s free.


  • About WHO (mission, members, funding, donors)
  • Animals and virus (get it from, give it to, walking)
  • At-risk, vulnerable (age, pre-existing conditions, disabilities, ethnic minorities)
  • Avoiding physical contact (social / physical distancing, self-isolation)
  • Business participation, new products, ideas
  • Caring for a vulnerable, at risk person
  • Caring for someone with virus at home, yourself with virus
  • Cleaning, disinfecting, waste disposal (hands, deliveries, home, workplace)
  • Community-based support groups, local networks
  • Compare statistics (country, local, tests, cases, recoveries, deaths, demographics)
  • Compare symptoms with cold, flu, allergies
  • Confined living, dealing with being inside (activities, entertainment)
  • Confirmed cases, deaths, recoveries (daily, total)
  • Contact WHO (media, experts)
  • Deliveries, online shopping, post
  • Diagnosis
  • Diet, food, nutrition, supplements
  • Digital democracy (participation, feedback, policy development, reform)
  • Domestic, sexual abuse, violence
  • Drugs (preventative, treatment, development, approved)
  • Dying alone, funeral rites, mourning, grief
  • Emergency contacts (ambulance, medical)
  • End date, new normal, safe again
  • Essential services, key / critical workers
  • Explaining pandemic to children (guides, resources, advice)
  • Explaining pandemic to those with learning difficulties (guides, resources, advice)
  • Financial support, assistance, benefits (eligibility, availability)
  • Food, medicines, essential products (stocks, hoarding, availability, disruptions)
  • Government guidance, regulations (national, local)
  • Government roles, responsibilities, who’s in charge of what?
  • Government strategy (long-term control, lockdown exit, transition, economy reboot)
  • Health services unrelated to pandemic (appointments, prescriptions, treatments)
  • High risk transmission environments, (care homes, restaurants, supermarkets)
  • Home schooling, remote teaching, learning (tips, how-to, advice)
  • Immunity, antibody testing (criteria, availability, accuracy)
  • Incubation period, time from infection to symptoms
  • Industry / sector specific advice (airlines, funeral homes, supermarkets)
  • Infection hotspots, clusters, exposures (near me, identifying, tracking)
  • Infectiousness (when most infectious, super spreader, symptom-free but infectious)
  • Latest news, latest research (alerts, directives, updates)
  • Likely course of illness, outcomes, prognosis
  • Mental health, wellbeing
  • Modelling, forecasting, trends (flattening curve, economic impact)
  • Money issues, personal finances, savings, pensions
  • Movements, interactions of infected people (tracking, contact tracing)
  • Myths, fake news, misinformation, out of date information
  • New outbreak, second wave (response, containment)
  • No longer infectious (criteria, time required in self-isolation)
  • Number of tests (tests performed, individuals tested)
  • Original outbreak source, patient zero (global, national)
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE: masks, shields, gowns)
  • Physical wellbeing, exercise, breathing exercises
  • Post recovery complications (neurological, cardiac, respiratory)
  • Pregnancy, birth, infants (precautions, advice, breast feeding)
  • Privacy rights, data protection, anonymity (apps, personal health data)
  • Professional medical training, courses
  • Public health campaign material, posters, communications, educational resources
  • Raw data, open data, datasets, metadata
  • Relationships (family, friends, colleagues)
  • Research ideas, submissions, funding, grants
  • Research papers, studies
  • Scams, cybersecurity threats
  • Sexual, reproductive health, rights
  • Symptoms, signs
  • Technology support for less experienced, vulnerable, reduced income
  • Testing for live / active virus infection (eligibility criteria, availability, accuracy)
  • Transmission, spread, epidemiology
  • Travel restrictions (quarantine, lockdown)
  • Treatment lessons learned, emerging best practice, failed treatments
  • Vaccine (development, availability, safety)
  • Ventilators (availability, approved, impact on recovery, decision to use)
  • Virus family, definition, names, acronyms
  • Virus mutation, new strains
  • Virus survival / viability / persistence on surfaces, in air
  • Volunteering opportunities
  • WHO guidelines, standards, decisions
  • WHO’s position, opinion, response to
  • Working from home (guidelines, tips, advice)
  • Workplaces (preventing spread, rights, reopening criteria, guidance)

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