Study Overview

The Universal First Aid App study provides honest, up-to-date feedback from nearly 9,000 Red Cross / Crescent First Aid app stakeholders by way of on-on-one interviews, a quantitative survey and a diary study. Like the app users themselves, their feedback is rich and diverse. The feedback represents the daily realities of people who currently use the First Aid app and documents their expectations for the next generation of this important First Aid resource.

This study is grounded in a design based approach. We have presented our data, insights and recommendations to inspire creativity and to inform strategic decisions for the redesign of the First Aid app.


The purpose of the Global Disaster Preparedness Center (GDPC) Universal First Aid App Feedback Study is twofold:

To understand the impact of the Universal First Aid App (UFAA) in its current form,

To inform its redesign via insights and recommendations derived from the study.

Studio Stella, the team of design researchers engaged by GDPC to complete this work, envisions that this study will serve to orient the development team in a human-centered mindset and will help launch the discovery for the redesign effort led by 3sidedcube.

To this end, Studio Stella's design research Team has gathered feedback on the first generation of the app from all stakeholders to assess the impact that it has had on Red Cross National Societies. This feedback will also inform User Experience (UX) decisions about what content, features, and functionality to emphasize, enhance or let go of as the app is redesigned.


This microsite documents the current user experience for a variety of stakeholders–from GDPC staff and volunteers to first aid instructors, students, and practitioners. Interviewees provided a high-level picture of the role that the app can play in their countries and networks, while the survey and diary study brought to light more individual needs and use cases. The complimentary nature of the data from our four research streams provides a rich and holistic understanding of the possibilities for future use of the app.


Desk research

Secondary research focused on preparing for data collection. We reviewed existing research (both GDPC internal and external publications) and initiated a survey of best-in-class mobile (app) experiences. Some digital experiences got additional attention, such as Duolingo and what3words. Links to some of the sources that we analyzed appear in this microsite.

Stakeholder interviews

The goal of these interviews was to establish a detailed understanding of the First Aid app’s value to a diverse group of stakeholders, exploring unarticulated needs and desires in one-on-one or group discussions. Discussions consisted of both open-ended and directed questions to elicit feedback. Stakeholder interviews were 60-90 minutes long and included participants from national societies all over the world.

Quantitative survey

The design research team conducted a quantitative study that included data from a digital survey in 9 languages distributed through the First Aid app. In addition we evaluated the app’s current analytics in an effort to provide high-level insight across a large population of users through quantitative analysis. On the other hand, the qualitative study offered deep insight into the reasons why certain trends appeared in the quantitative data.

Digital journaling

In this phase, our goal was to gain an understanding of when First Aid instructors and students use the First Aid app in their day-to-day work. A sampling of 7 respondents across geographies and cultures have been included. Respondents were asked to keep a digital journal of their daily experiences related to the usage of the First Aid app to give the design research team an idea of the app’s impact and utility. This research method allowed us to get a view into usage scenarios that researchers are unable to be a part of during discussion sessions. Participants in the journal study came from Uganda, Colombia, New Zealand, Turkey, Canada, Tunisia and Mexico. We have provided their feedback throughout this microsite, as videos and quotes.

Considerations in analyzing the quantitative data

This data represents a snapshot that is indicative of who was using the app at the time of the survey and who was prepared to take the time to fill in a survey. We found that this skewed the age demographics, in the sense that most people who filled in the survey were between 40 and 60 years old, with some variation for the Spanish (30-44) and Portuguese (18-29) surveys. 

Although people from 94 countries responded to the survey, the majority of responses came from the following countries(with more than 100 responses):

  • Canada - 2021
  • Italy - 1228
  • Sweden - 1092
  • Australia - 1072
  • Mexico - 992
  • Switzerland - 532
  • New Zealand - 489
  • Argentina - 396
  • Brazil - 234
  • Phillippines - 128
  • Hong Kong - 120

We would like to highlight several factors that may have affected the ways in which survey respondents interpreted questions. Without the benefit of follow-up questions to clarify answers with respondents, identifying trends in this data is limited by the following factors:

  • Respondents’ interpretation of questions was subjective, so long form answers are most illuminating.
  • Respondents’ definitions of what constitutes an emergency or an urgent situation is different.


Cultural differences and the willingness of respondents to answer surveys also needs to be taken into account. Most obviously, these differences affect the way that people interpreted the question. Perhaps more importantly, large groups of app users chose not to start the survey - most dramatically, the Arabic survey was only completed by 4 respondents. We learned from one of the Red Cross stakeholders we spoke to that this is a common challenge with Arabic speakers and encourage the GDPC to find new ways of including these users in future research. 

It is important to keep in mind that in order to design a more inclusive app experience, we do not recommend using the quantitative survey data alone, to direct new product development. The interpretation of this data should always be directed by the qualitative data collected from experts. 


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