CASE STUDYON BEHANCE
WOMEN’S HEALTH APP
My Days app was the first app I used for noting my periods, and to my delight, I never needed another. The main reason was its impressive predictions and functionality with little to no errors on the accuracy graph. While the app provided spot-on results, the designer in me always felt that perhaps it had an opportunity to provide so much more value by delving a little deeper into the aesthetics to create an intuitive experience, keeping the user in focus. Thus, the idea of re-designing the ‘My Days’ app was born.
The project took place between August 2016 and December 2016.
This is my journey from conceptualizing to prototyping My Days as a complete aid to women’s health.
Re-designed My Days in motion
the design needed to be improved to keep user experience front-and-center, while retaining the effective functionality that the app came with.
the challenge was to integrate an ease and openness about menstruation in the re-design. Menstruation stigma is still prevalent in societies, which conditions us to understand menstrual function as something to be hidden, something shameful. Nevertheless, all women, i.e., half of humanity, experience menstrual cycles. The health and information about these cycles are related to reproduction, and therefore, to the future of humanity.
This led me to study,
the use of a mobile app to track periods
With the advancement of technology and the wide-spread use of mobile apps acting as a carrier of knowledge, women not only have the access to information about their health like never before, but also the social freedom to have it openly anytime, anywhere.
Periods usually arrive once each month, but the exact date, flow, cramp severity, and accompanying symptoms are not quite consistent. For this very reason, the app market has begun venturing into period tracking that aim to offer insight into the monthly cycle.
After an overview of the app market in this domain, I realized that,
These types of apps are a great way to better understand a woman’s body, especially for people who experience irregular periods.
The apps are embraced by women trying to get pregnant. Period apps are able to predict ovulation, and can tell when a woman is most likely to conceive. Individual accurate predictions about menstrual cycle length and fertility windows are likely to help conceive faster.
In a similar way, the apps also act as a hormone-free way of birth control. The ovulation prediction helps women to avoid intercourse on those days and hence act as way of birth control.
The collected information is useful to bring to doctor appointments if patients have particular concerns. In certain cases, providing a doctor with more data allows for expediting treatment.
Reminders about medications and contraception helps those undergoing fertility treatments like IVF and IUI with fertility insights to time their treatment well.
To date, startups focusing on women’s health alone have raised over $1.1B, and are growing in quantity and quality of services offered
1. NOTING MOODS IS HELPFUL
“Not knowing when I will be a weepy, bloated mess or a super-charged, productive go-getter makes my emotional roller-coaster even more intense”
Everything from food cravings to migraines has been linked with hormonal fluctuations during a woman’s monthly cycle, so it makes sense that menstruation has a huge impact on her mood.
Oestrogen dominance is thought to be associated with mood swings involving more irritability and anger. Whilst progesterone dominance is more commonly associated with feelings of low mood, weepiness, anxiety, and low self-confidence.
It was observed that noting moods reduced anxiety and made women understand their mind and body better.
2. HELPING REDUCE HEALTHCARE EXPENSES IS BENEFICIAL
Personalized health insights provided by the app can help women become more aware of their health and take charge of the information during all stages of their life – the start of menstruation, before, during, and after pregnancy, as well as menopause.
This can help reduce unnecessary medical interventions and thereby cut healthcare expenses.
The cost of PMS has been estimated at US $5000 per case every year, with women likely to experience 3000 days of disabling symptoms during their reproductive lives [US statistics].
3. HOW A HEALTH TRACKER APP WORKS
Most apps have women manually log their period dates, mood, physical inner activity, symptoms like headache, fatigue, or acne, etc. The app then utilizes artificial intelligence to recognize patterns in this data unique to every user.
These unique patterns form the basis for the health-related insights, predictions, and general information for every user.
4. studying the ‘MY DAYS’ APP for re-design
Armed with this information, I realized the importance of the features needed in the app. The features are not only add-ons, but also provide a direction to the users towards understanding their health and well-being, I then moved to the most important stage in the re-design –
studying the existing app in detail, to understand what works and what can be improved upon.
The ‘MY DAYS’ Home Screen looked informative, but lacked a coherent approach to information hierarchy. Understanding the Red Routes and utilizing those paths became the priority for me.
The most important task of the app is to note the menstrual cycle. Guiding the users to that task intuitively was most important.
Colors play an important role in communication. They attract attention, allow to group related elements, and convey meaning to any communication. The app used blood red effectively, although the rest of the scheme needed improvement.
The visual representation of the data entry for period mood, weight, and symptoms needed to be more intuitive.
I observed that important data entries like period length, cycle length, and luteal length were implemented with the slide feature. Here, the ease-of-use needed improvement – finger-based slider was not intuitive. The colors and contrast could be more aesthetically pleasing.
THE REDESIGN PLAN
Simplicity in design is key to effective communication
Simplicity reduces intimidation and keeps the focus of the user on the main functions of the app.
COLOR AS A TOOL TO EVOKE EMOTIONS
Color carries emotional resonance with it – when we see a color, we have an emotional response towards that color.
FOCUS ON USERS RATHER THAN FEATURES
Customised experience based on individual symptoms and data becomes the most crucial factor in the user-centric tracker app.
Information Architecture, Low-fidelity wireframes
Reinventing the flow
Early sketches and pathways for framework
BRANDING AND DESIGN (LAYOUT, COLOR, AND TYPOGRAPHY) DECISIONS
Simplicity is achieved by removing the obvious and keeping the meaningful
A small dose of tertiary colors with a hint of the main red would create the necessary contrast while attracting attention
Pathfinding – clubbing the most important data inputs: (i) for menstruation, e.g., dates, cramp severity, and flow; and (ii) for ovulation, e.g., user’s sexual activity, birth control, moods, and keeping ease of accessibility in mind.
Diverting features like managing accounts, setting passwords, and visibility control to side navigation provides quick access.
A clear view for frequently accessed features like settings, diary, history, and chats, by creating a bottom tab.
A multi-user capability to allow users to keep track of family members’ period details – a handy tool for concerned mothers!
Inclusion of button for easy-view of daily feeds in quick access. This allows searching any date and its feed on that particular date. The feature is especially beneficial for sharing info with the doctor (if need be).
Since menstruation tracking and ovulation can be overwhelming tasks, I sensed that using subtle tints of purple with a good contrast of red could present a pleasant palette for the app’s new design.