Mia Fuhrman (firstname.lastname@example.org) – Primary Contact
Skatje Myers (email@example.com)
Janeen Neri (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Toni Rosati (email@example.com)
There are many period tracking apps out there. They all glamorize “that time of the month” with user interfaces involving bubbles, flowers, and lots of pink. Unfortunately, most women do not delight in “Aunt Flo’s” monthly visit. Let’s be real, menstruation is more Quentin Tarentino bloodbath than “My Little Pony” friendship circle.
We intend to invert the formula with a zombie themed period app, “28 Days Later”. The tracker will lean heavily on pictorial representations rather than words, with a tide of zombies standing in for symptoms such as bleeding, pain, and mood swings. It may also include some form of shared data, so users can compare cycle lengths and symptoms to find out what’s normal and what might not be.
The target audience is women in their 20s-30s who are not charmed by flower or heart-themed period trackers. Fertility tracking may be included, but we won’t specifically target women who are trying to get pregnant. Rather, we are interested in helping people understand their bodies while making light of a taboo subject.
Communication Plan. We intend to meet via Google Hangouts during the week, with possible in-person meetings on weekends. Electronic text will be shared in Google docs. Any code (e.g. for prototypes) will be shared through Github.
Existing Products. We’re investigating various period trackers and a zombie-themed running app. Some inspirations are as follows:
- Period Tracker is a colorful and flowery tracker with a calendar and graphs. We were particularly interested in its use of emoticons to represent the user’s mood.
- Period Calendar is a more subdued, but still very cheerful tracker. It also features a calendar, graphs, and emoticons.
- Fertility Friend focuses on ovulation. Otherwise, it has charts and calendars similar to the period trackers, and features a spectrum of soft pastels and hearts.
- Clue is a period tracker with a more minimalist theme. Its main screen has a pretty cool circular graphic showing upcoming milestones.
- Zombies, Run is a zombie-themed fitness app. We’re interested in the way it uses zombies to incentivize running.
Research. There are a number of questions we’d like to investigate to design a useful tracker. In particular,
- Frequency of Interaction. Are users likely to enter data every day? Only on periods? Randomly?
- Length of Interaction. Are users interested in carefully entering precise data for each day, or quickly getting it over with? Will they take time to compare symptoms with other users and look for advice on treating symptoms?
- Incentives. What are UI tricks or rewards we can use to ensure people enter the minimum amount of data to get accurate readings?
- Recency. Will users enter symptoms immediately, or will there be some delay? If the delay is long, would they need to be reminded of what needs to be entered?
- Symptoms. What symptoms are people most interested in tracking? Bleeding, obviously, but there’s also bloating, pain, mood swings, immune swings, ovulation, mucus consistency, and a whole range of other symptoms that could be included.
- Regularity of cycles. Is our target audience pretty regular, or irregular? Might they be taking BC that alters cycle frequency and regularity? This may need to be answered by general statistics rather than asking in person.
- Journaling. How important is it to record unusual symptoms or notes? Are presets enough?
- Lead time. Given a current date, how far ahead do users want to see predictions? How far behind? Are they mostly interested in tomorrow, or in long-term planning around their periods?
- Social. Is there any market for sharing data with friends? How about sharing aggregated, anonymized data with the rest of the userbase?
- Theme. Are users most interested in mildly “gross” cartoon-y representations, or should the project fully commit to horror and gore? How important is the theme? Will they compromise functionality for a better theme?
Since the target audience is in our age bracket, we will rely on female friends and women on campus for most of our research. It would be interesting to have a few long-term usability studies in addition to short sessions with large audiences. Long-term surveys or prototype usage would best answer our usage-over-time questions.
Credits. The research questions and targeting arose from discussion between all four team members. Skatje did the research into existing apps. Toni kept notes during our user, task, and environment brainstorming and posted them to piazza. Mia took notes on general brainstorming and edited the blog. Janeen compiled the notes into this blog post. Images are early brainstorming concepts created by…