The Mobile apps that are saving lives

Article by: Tom Kilburn Article by: Tom Kilburn  |   28 August 2019

There are mobile apps for entertainment. Apps for education. Apps for maps. Apps for recipes. For gardening, for travel, for planning, for collaborating, for e-commerce… the list is endless. The scope of the humble mobile app is limitless, and now they’re even saving lives.

How are mobile apps saving lives?

Apps are saving lives across the world in a number of creative yet surprisingly simple ways. They’re helping to feed malnourished children in areas of poverty and war. They’re supporting search and rescue teams looking for missing people. They’re assisting medically untrained people conducting emergency first aid. This is all only possible thanks to mobile device capabilities such as biometrics, integrated GPS, access to the internet, and excellent app design. Let’s take a look at a few of the most interesting and impactful:

What3words – finding missing people with innovative geolocation and grid system

GPS coordinates are clunky, difficult to read and prone to error. The team at What3words took the concept of coordinates – a specific moniker relating to a precise area – and used it to build a global grid of 3m2 plots, each with it’s own three-word name. For example, you’ll find the entrance to the Prism office at ///hype.melon.dates.

Three mobile phones showcasing the What3words App

What3words is being used around the world in a number of creative ways. Mongolia uses it instead of post codes, while travel guides are starting to use it to show where the entrance is to attractions. It even integrates with Uber. However, what’s really exciting is how it’s being used to save lives.

Because What3words is so easy to use, search and rescue companies are compelling users to download the app so that they can use it to quickly share their location in remote or challenging areas. It’s being successfully used in the UK in forests and mountainsides, and missing people have been found quickly. The UK police even utilised the app to find a group of people, including a pregnant woman, trapped inside a shipping container at a port in Hull. Expect to see this app a lot more in the near future.

St John Ambulance – sharing first aid information in a clear and concise way

When it comes to first aid emergencies, you need to be quick. Seconds can literally result in the difference between life and death. However, incorrectly issuing first aid can be just as dangerous as doing nothing.

The St John Ambulance app allows untrained users to identify symptoms and help to stabilise patients in an emergency until paramedics arrive. Instructions are displayed in a clear and concise manner, using infographics and text which is also read out loud as an audio file.

Three mobile phones showcasing the St johns ambulance app

Although simple in its execution, the app saves time otherwise wasted searching on potentially unreputable sources on the internet, while an excellent user interface and navigation system ensures lives can be saved when trained professionals are yet to arrive.

Sharethemeal – feeding children through engaging charity donation

With countless charities in the world, it can be difficult to break through the noise and engage with users. It can also be time consuming for users looking to donate, and difficult to know where your donations go. The sharethemeal app solves these problems by making it quick and easy to donate a small amount of money, while giving donors the choice to donate towards specific causes, and the knowledge as to how their contribution helps to save lives.

Three mobile phone showcasing the Sharethemeal app

A basic gamification element has been added to the app in the form of progress bars associated with each cause – if you want to help Venezuelan migrants, you can see that 74% of the goal has been achieved. In just two clicks, you can donate as little as 35p, enough to feed one child for a day, while learning more about where your money goes and how you’re helping to save lives. Charity in seconds.

Other notable apps:

  • Heart rate measurement apps (biometrics)
  • Mental health and “suicide watch” community apps (forums and live chat)
  • Panic button apps and location pings (personal safety)

What do all of these apps have in common?

The success of all of these apps lies in both a simple user interface and clear value. They’re easy to use, simple to navigate, look great, and clearly showcase their purpose. That's why they're so successful. This same logic can be applied to ensure apps of all types are successful. A difficult to navigate application won’t be used. If it’s confusing, or it’s not clear what the purpose of the app is, you’re soon going to have a disengaged user base. All of that investment in the app, for little to no return.

Apps from Prism

At Prism, one of the many things we do is create simple yet powerful B2B sales and marketing applications. Our highly-popular marketing event apps and product sales training apps might not be saving lives, but it’s making them a lot easier for event delegates and organisers for B2B Tech and Fintech organisations.


explore our work