aca-1557-ipad-japanese-noticeQuicksilver recently worked with its partner company SymPlay to create a simple app that solves a difficult medical paperwork problem.

In a nutshell, the Affordable Care Act mandates that all medical facilities post non-discrimination notices in the 15 most commonly used languages in any given location, like the Japanese notice shown here. Needless to say, this creates administrative headaches — who’s going to download, edit, print and post all of those notices?

Although the basics of the app are quite simple, we had to do a number of tricks to make it look right in all languages. There are so many different languages that the fonts in the iPad don’t support all of them. Remarkably, they do work for more than 90% of the provided languages, but there are still a few odd exceptions that just don’t look right without some special handling. Fortunately, our background in game development made it easy for us to figure out how to make it work smoothly.

aca-1557-ipad-klingon-noticeOur game roots also influenced us in another way: we decided to add an Easter Egg into the app, just for fun. So, in addition to the 63 different languages supported on the official Health and Human Services (HHS) Web site, we also translated the text of the notice into Klingon and Elvish and slipped those languages into the mix just like any other.

Why did we do this? First, of course, was simply for the humor. How many medical apps out there actually support these languages. It’s funny. But there’s more. We wanted to make the content of this app as appealing and engaging as possible. It’s basically just a stack of legal documents — not of much inherent interest to most people. So anything that we can do to attract attention is a good thing and is likely to increase the odds of someone actually paying attention to these important documents. Even if it only happens once in a while, we look forward to hearing how someone cracked a smile as they realized what they were seeing in an otherwise ordinary doctor’s office.

aca-1557-ipad-elvish-noticeTo further pursue this effort to maximize engagement, we also animated the presentation of the documents. It’s a subtle trick, but one we knew would draw attention. If there’s motion on the screen, people will pay attention. So we made the content scroll slowly upward and made the left-side menu move as well. The result is constant motion on the screen, which invites attention. We even added a subtle fade-in when each language changes, again reinforcing the message that there are multiple different documents to be seen. All total, it adds up to a much better overall level of refinement in the app.

The app is available now in the Apple App Store and will soon be released for Android as well. The iPad version can be found at:

More information about SymPlay and its other applications can be found at the SymPlay Web site: