Background and Context:
The Australian SunSmart mobile phone application is an extension of the internationally standardised Global Solar UV Index. The SunSmart iPhone app was launched in November 2010, and subsequent Android and Samsung mobile versions and an iPad tablet version have been released.
The aim of the app is to translate the UV Index into an easy‐to‐understand, useful tool with a strong call to action that enables Australians to make informed daily decisions about when to use sun protection.
The app’s main objective is to communicate the times of day sun protection is required (and not required) based on UV Index forecast information released by the Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology. Additional features include hourly forecast UV Index, daily reminders of sun protection times, a vitamin D tracker, and a sunscreen calculator.
Both paid and unpaid media have been utilised to promote the app since its launch. Research has been conducted to inform development the app, and quantitative and qualitative evaluation projects have assessed use, perceptions and behavioural intentions associated with the app.
Overall, the results have been very positive; surveys in 2011 revealed 87% of users felt that the app met or exceeded their expectations, 86% of users agreed that the app made them more aware of the times of day sun protection is required and more than half refer to the app on a daily basis. Qualitative research in 2013 provided insights into how people use the app and ideas for future updates.
Outcomes/What was learned:
As of May 2014, the mobile application had been downloaded 114,000 times. The future challenge now will be to continue to update and refresh the app so it continues to be used by Australians to assist them improving their sun protection behaviours.