Most people when they travel like to know what they are getting into even if it does not change what they do. Maps, cultural information, weather, exchange rates, terror alert levels and so on all help meet our “cognitive need” of being and feeling prepared for travel.
One big gap, until recently, has been information on communicable diseases like colds and flu. You can now get a widget or mobile phone application from Zicam that tracks and reports on five different levels of cold and flu symptoms in a given location. To get an example alert go here and type in the zip code for the area of interest.
In addition to an alert level, the mobile service provides cold and flu news, coupons and the location of the nearest retailer.
[Source: Zicam. CLICK IMAGE for more readable version]
Like Yahoo weather and Google maps, I now use the Zicam Cold and Flu widget to plan trips in the winter. It lets me know if I am going into a hot zone or not. This helps me be more vigilant (more hand washing less eye/face rubbing) and avoid unnecessary worry. Most of all it helps meet my cognitive need to feel more prepared for the uncertainties and risks of travel.
Good cognitive design!