An app for the Smiley System

The Norwegian Food Safety Authority oversees all food and beverage establishments to ensure that they comply with rules and regulations for hygiene and food handling. The Smiley system was implemented 1st of January 2016 and is aimed at giving the public a better insight into the Food Safety Authority’s inspection results. The scheme comprises more than 8000 restaurants and cafes, and the results from the hygiene inspections will be available on the Internet, and as posters displayed at the establishment.

For the poster to be relevant the Food Safety Authority increases the inspection frequency from around once per three years to approx. every eight months. This is about four times as often as previously – while staff will not be increased. This demands efficient work tools. The existing reporting solution was very general and was customized to this type of inspection. The inspectors regarded report writing in the office as the largest time thief in the inspection work. Therefore they wanted a simpler, customized solution that they could bring along on inspections.

This is exactly what I need. Very simple and straightforward

Inspector in the Norwegian Food Safety Authority


In close cooperation with inspectors and technical experts at the Food Safety Authority we created a customized application for inspections in restaurants. It supports the entire process, from planning and preparations to inspection and follow-up of decisions.

Depending on the results that the inspector records the application adjusts the work steps and creates automatic measures where possible. It is adapted to new users as well as expert users, for instance with keyboard shortcuts and keyboard navigation. Relevant texts of law from and the Food Safety Authority’s own guidance texts are easily accessible when the inspector needs them. The application is also seamlessly integrated with the case management system of the Food Safety Authority, and can be used without web access.

The inspector brings a laptop and can print out when on inspection, and does the report work on site. The inspector prints out the Smiley face poster and report, which is given to the person in charge at the establishment, and when the inspector leaves the premises, the job is completed.

The result from an inspection is shown by three faces:

  • A smile means good results from inspection.
  • A neutral mouth means things need to be improved.
  • A frown means serious shortcomings have been found.

User involvement

We developed the Smiley application in close cooperation with inspectors and technical managers at the Food Safety Authority. The inspectors were involved right from the beginning, and the first part of the project consisted of user surveys and field observations, which were critical for understanding the inspectors’ needs. In the field work we examined the inspectors’ workflow and how the applications could help them work more efficiently before, during and after an inspection. The application was designed iteratively, and was user tested by inspectors from several parts of the country during the development process.

Domain-driven design

The new application was seamlessly integrated with the case management system of the Food Safety Authority, which covers the entire large and complex domain that the Food Safety Authority controls. To do this the best possible way, we used domain-driven design methodology (DDD) in development. By using this methodology we ensured that everyone involved in the project used a common vocabulary, inspectors, technical experts, designers, developers, and testers. The communication became simpler, and everyone understood and had ownership of the description of the system.

Technology we used

  • Windows Presentation Foundation
  • C#
  • XAML
  • REST
  • JSON

What we did

  • Insight and analysis
  • Concept development
  • Information architecture
  • Interaction design
  • Graphic design
  • User testing
  • Development
  • Integration
  • Project management
  • Testing

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