Improving MOH’s Quarantine Order Notification: A UX Writing Case Study

How might we make the notification more human-friendly and informative, while adhering to SMS character limits?

Teo Yu Siang (he/him)
11 min readMay 18, 2021


A few days ago, my boyfriend received a message from Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH). It notified him that he was issued a COVID-19 Quarantine Order (QO) because he came into close contact with a confirmed case, and that he is required to quarantine for the next 2 weeks.

What followed was an hour of frantic calling and googling to figure out what we needed to do. We felt scared and confused, and didn’t know what to expect.

As the dust settled, however, it became clear to me that this was, in fact, a design problem (specifically, a UX writing problem). Because the QO notification shouldn’t be confusing. When a person receives the notification, the last thing we want is for them to get confused and act in a way that could further spread the virus.

In my designer brain, a lightbulb lit up. This is the perfect case study for UX writing! So I created this case study of how better writing could help alleviate the fear and uncertainty that QO recipients face—and, in turn, help make our nationwide quarantine efforts more effective. I’ll start with the original…