The UX of COVID-19 vaccine registration (in Chicago with Zocdoc)

The UX of COVID-19 vaccine registration

This UX of COVID-19 vaccine registration review is written by Kim Chung, who is currently located in Chicago, IL. 

It’s mid-March 2021 and Chicago is currently in Phase 1C of the vaccine rollout. This includes people between the ages of 65-74 years old, people between the ages of 16-64 with underlying medical conditions, and other essential workers such as those who work in transportation, food service, public health, law, etc. 

As we scramble to register for vaccines in hopes of returning to “normal,” the logistics for finding appointments can be byzantine. Vaccinations are handled through appointments either with a doctor or other health care provider, a pharmacy, or an employer. There are city-designated sites for mass vaccinations for those who are eligible and there are many other resources out there for information: 

Chicago has multiple outlets for COVID-19 updates. Compared to states like California or Massachusetts, Illinois has a Statewide Vaccination Location page that links to county-specific information. 

Before doing a deep dive into what Zocdoc gets right, let’s start with the poor user experience that millions of people endure. This baseline experience is representative of just how fragmented and confusing a rollout it has been in the States. 

I visited to check for eligibility and consent to the following questions. 

After filling out these 5 questions and marking 3 boxes, it turns out I would be ineligible for a vaccine. But I can register to receive COVID-19 vaccine information. Okay, let’s give that a try! 

Clicking on the checkbox and the “Register to receive COVID-19 vaccine information” button, I’m met with another (longer) form where it asks for not only personal information like name, address, birth year, and race, I’m asked again what industry I work in, age-range, and health-related questions asked in the previous form. Why?!

To receive COVID-19 vaccination updates, I expected the form to only ask for contact information such as phone number and email (which are at the end of this long repetitive form). This redundant flow makes a user frustrated from going in circles and lose confidence in the process because I am not more informed than before starting this process. 

Fortunately, in some states, there are other options. 

Enter Zocdoc

Zocdoc is a New York City-based online medical appointment booking service founded in April 2007 that allows people to find and book medical care. Chicago is the first city to implement Zocdoc’s vaccine scheduler tool in efforts to get its 2.7 million residents vaccinated. 

“For some people, making vaccination more convenient will mean the difference between whether they get vaccinated or not, and we want to bring down every barrier that we can,” said Christina Hildreth Anderson, Chicago’s deputy commissioner and chief of operations for COVID-19 response for the Chicago Department of Public Health.

To minimize the friction for its residents, Zocdoc maps out nearby vaccination locations for Chicago residents who are eligible for the vaccine. The platform shows real-time appointment availability and the option to book online since many locations are not doing on-site registration. 

The appointment-booking process

Chicago residents are instructed to go to zocdoc/vaccine to find a local vaccination. 

After selecting a state, Zocdoc will ask for your age because the elderly are prioritized for getting their vaccinations (I masquerade as a 65-year-old for the purpose of looking at this appointment-booking process. Please be kind and accurately fill out your information to get the best results!)

On the next page, the progress bar immediately jumps to near-completion with only a few more questions to survey the user’s recent health history to ensure the most accurate information. 

After clicking “Submit”, the next page indicates that I am eligible to schedule a Covid-19 vaccination appointment and I can click to see availability. 

Unfortunately, there are ZERO appointments available in the area as of right now (there might be a shortage in Chicago right now) but there is a healthy list accompanied by a map to view locations. Additionally, there is a CTA at the top to sign up for notifications for when the next availability is. 

Why this is really good UX:

  • Zocdoc breaks down the “onboarding” process into multiple steps – select your state, indicate age, answer pre-vaccination checklist questions based on age (i.e. if you are not elderly, Zocdoc asks about your healthcare and congregate living, frontline essential workers, high-risk medical conditions to determine your eligibility. If you are not yet eligible, you can receive updates for when it’ll be your turn.)
  • By segmenting the questionnaire, Zocdoc simplifies the tedious process to quickly confirm eligibility. If the user is eligible, then the appointment booking screen is shown. This also minimizes heavy traffic on the booking site.
  • The app is mobile-friendly and responsive, taking an accessible approach so that users can have the same seamless experience regardless of how they access the website. 
  • Zocdoc’s bright color scheme and friendly microcopy (“You are likely not yet eligible to receive the Covid-19 vaccine”) helps users overcome uncertainty and stay informed on decisions around the vaccination process.


Chicago’s decision to use Zocdoc as their appointment booking platform is a very smart move to centralize information and simplify the process for all parties – users, vaccination centers, etc. Finding accurate Covid-19 information can be a nightmare. By deconstructing the “onboarding” steps, and allowing users to answer simple questions quickly informs users if they’re able to be vaccinated during this current phase. If yes, users are offered a list of locations with a map to select a place more convenient to them. 

Zocdoc’s bright, quirky color scheme and cheery copy keep the user informed and confident that they’re equipped with updates and information to have a pleasant experience. In comparison to other cities and states, I think Chicago’s ahead of the game if we can secure more vaccinations. 

Want to learn how to write a better microcopy? Check out What I do as a UX Writer to read more on how writing ties into the user experience. 


Google UX Design Professional Certificate

Months after Google announced their professional growth certificates, we finally see their offering for the UX Design certificate. Turns out, it’ll be offered through Coursera after all!

Here’s what Google’s UX Design Certificate on Coursera will entail:

  • 6 months to get students job-ready 
  • 3 end-to-end projects: a mobile app, a responsive website, and a cross-platform experience
  • Learn the core UX process: research, brainstorming, wireframing and design


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.