With lots of government information being published and used during the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a lot of opportunity to apply effective design when it comes to infographics and data visualization. Here is an example of the Queensland Government in Australia providing a table to compare the symptoms between COVID-19, Common Cold and the Flu

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Personally I find the use of long tables difficult for making comparisons, but much more suited to the display of data, but in this case there may be some good reason for doing so:

  1. There are three well defined conditions that people are presenting with so there are not too many comparisons across the page
  2. The information is critically important and very easy to get confused so diagrams might be less useful for self-diagnosis purposes
  3. It is easy to update or change information presented in this format

I think there are possible improvements that can be made, and I am wondering if there are examples of this type of information being published around the world that are good examples. I think improvements could include:

  • Grouping symptoms so that we can quickly see those shared by all three and those that are unique to each of the conditions
  • Ordering the symptoms in order of most common to least common
  • Provide description of symptoms rather than the use of icons, which doesn't really add much more to the information
  • Use of colours to provide better contrast and for accessibility
  • 2
    It seems like what might be in order is a mechanism instead where a user is checking off their symptoms, and the system is returning both the likeliness (or commonalities) according to symptoms entered. It turns it from a static display to an exploratory tool. Have you seen anything interactive that's meaningful?
    – Mike M
    Aug 24, 2020 at 0:22
  • @MikeM I think you have a really good point there. Information is good but it needs to be immediately actionable when it comes to critical or time-sensitive details. I am probably going to put up a bounty to see if I can get some examples when it is eligible in a couple of days. I haven't seen anything really good out there yet, which is a surprise since I assume that there would be a few UX designers in government departments.
    – Michael Lai
    Aug 24, 2020 at 0:46

1 Answer 1


How to use this table? It is like goods comparison table in any online store. We can see that one disease has more blue boxes with 'Common' symptoms than another one. Obviously, this is not informative.

Looking at the table we should be warned if we need further testing so this should be used like questions asked by doctor. I'm not medical worker but I think the first question should be about loose of smell or cough. If everything is good with it so maybe other questions has no sense? So I think the main thing is the order of symptoms. Each next step should be a point of decision where to go - down for next COVID question or to right to another disease. In reality as for software developer the first row in a table should be sneezing which currently is the last one. Do you know why? :)

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