Contact tracing apps (CTAs) were deployed worldwide in 2020 to combat COVID-19. Due to their low uptake, a growing amount of empirical research is being conducted to understand the factors that drive their adoption. For CTAs to be adopted, users must, first and
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Contact tracing apps (CTAs) were deployed worldwide in 2020 to combat COVID-19. Due to their low uptake, a growing amount of empirical research is being conducted to understand the factors that drive their adoption. For CTAs to be adopted, users must, first and foremost, find them persuasive. However, there is little research to understand the role user experience (UX) plays in their perceived persuasiveness. Consequently, we conducted an online study on Amazon Mechanical Turk among Canadian and American residents (n
= 446) to investigate the most important UX design attributes associated with the perceived persuasiveness of CTAs. The study was based on two app designs (control and persuasive), each of which comprises three use cases: no exposure, exposure, and diagnosis report interfaces. One interface (screenshot) was randomly presented to a participant to view and provide their responses on the perceived UX design attributes and perceived persuasiveness of the interface. In the overall model, we found that perceived usefulness is the most important and consistent UX design attribute that influences perceived persuasiveness (β = 0.29, p
< 0.001), followed by perceived trustworthiness (β = 0.24, p
< 0.001) and perceived privacy protection (β = 0.16, p
< 0.05). Respectively, the three predictors were consistently significant in two-thirds, half, and one-third of the 12 submodels based on app design, adoption status, and country of residence. The relationships regarding the persuasive designs are more likely to be significant, with the variance of the target construct explained by the predictors ranging from 71% to 89% compared with 54% to 69% for the control designs. The three significant attributes will help designers know which UX design attributes to focus on when designing CTAs for future epidemics. More importantly, in predictive modeling, if their ratings are known, they hold potential in predicting new users’ responsiveness to multiple persuasive strategies/messages featured in behavior-change support systems.