Bloody with a Chance of Pain



Name: Jen

Bio: Jen is a 25 year old woman who recently graduated college and is considering veterinary school. She’s very outgoing and has more male friends than female. She likes to make them uncomfortable by teasing and grossing them out. It gives her a sensation of power. She loves Rocky Horror Picture Show and gaming with her friends. She’s also an avid swimmer.  She tracks her workouts using an app and would like a reliable way to track her period as well.

Her cycles are regular, but a bit short.  She has an IUD, and she tracks periods primarily to plan around swimming.

Motivation: Enjoys the horror genre

Wants: Long-range prediction, lots of zombies


Name: Shelly

Bio: Shelly is 37 and an expert violinist. She and her husband own a large house in the suburbs with a few flowerbeds. She loves landscaping and works at a garden center, but sometimes forgets to maintain her own garden. The inside of her house is full of knicknacks – souvenirs from life’s little adventures. Shelly is a graduate student doing Feminist research.

Sometimes it seems like Shelly’s body hates her. She has learned to live with the a wide array of health issues. In particular, she has very severe period symptoms. She experiences heavy flow, intense cramps, and rapid mood swings.  She is on the pill, but hates it. She wants to live more organically and being off hormones would make her happy.  Her periods are regular, although she experiences different period-related symptoms throughout her cycle.  She has tried tracking her period before, but was disappointed by the limited symptom tracking – specifically, by the absence of emotional and psychological symptom tracking.

Motivation: Feels that periods are not “pretty”

Wants: Forgetfulness-proof logging, social features


Name: Nick

Bio: Nick is a 20-year-old trans-man, and is currently working on a degree in business. He is confident in his gender and sexuality, but prefers to talk about it with friends and not acquaintances. In the evenings, he’s worked various jobs to cover some of his tuition. Recently, he landed an internship, which pays much better than the local restaurants, but he’s still saving every penny to cut down on his loans so he can start investing. When he isn’t studying or working, he bikes the trails near his house and discusses philosophy with his housemates. One of his housemates owns a console, and when their schedules all align, they’ll play FPSs together.

Nick likes to be prepared for everything. He wants to know when his period is coming in advance. In the past, he’s tried stopping his periods with birth control, but found that the pills accentuated his body’s naturally female features.  He’s also tried tracking his period to help him plan, but feels angry at the prominence of pink and flowers. He values his privacy when he records information. He is not currently on birth control.

Motivation: Prefers a more discreet/less feminine tracker

Wants: Close-range prediction, custom symptom input



Most of our research participants reported regular periods that had a moderate effect on their daily lives.  Few participants were concerned with ovulation.  All participants reported symptoms related to menstruation – some reported symptoms throughout their menstrual cycle and there was a lot of overlap in the symptoms reported.  The women who participated in the cultural probe felt comfortable sharing information about their period and had a sense of humor about period tracking.  The cultural probe participants also focused more on mental symptoms rather than on physical symptoms.  Additionally, we found that most participants already track exercise, weight, or menstruation.  We included many of these attributes in the above personas.


The common functions of sketch A reside in widgets, reflecting the fact that our survey respondents preferred to log data as quick as possible. There are two widget options:

forecast_widget   apocalypse_widget

The “forecast” widget allows fast logging and symptom prediction from the home screen; zombie portraits can be tapped to cycle through the intensity levels for each symptom if the initial prediction isn’t correct. The “apocalypse” widget counts down the days to the next period and predicts the first day of the user’s next period.

If the user chooses to go into the app, they have more advanced options:

home    calendar

The calendar allows the user to quickly jump to a particular date to view the prediction or to log data. The user can also add custom symptom zombies with the + button,


or adjust their global settings via the gear icon.



Sketch B does not include widgets.  The home screen includes most of the functionality.  We included the main symptoms on the home screen – a “combat box” which includes suggested supplies for the day (e.g. tampons, Advil, etc.), a calendar icon that links to the main calendar screen, and a graphic of a zombie filling with blood to indicate how likely it is that the user is to get her period today.


When a symptom is selected, the user can indicate the severity by holding down the symptom button for a second. The severity icons will scroll out from right to left and the user can click on the severity to record today’s data.


Finally, “Details” links to a more specific symptoms page with more options and a sliding bar to indicate severity.


The calendar page would be the same for this version of the app, since our survey research indicated that users prefer a traditional monthly calendar.


Improvements to design were done on the fly during think aloud testing in class. The following sketches show the majority of changes:

Rosati_28dayslater_prototype_changes 2 Rosati_28dayslater_prototype_changes 1

The widgets needed background images to help users understand the context of the prototype. Without knowing the context, users thought they were already in the app instead of at the homepage of their phone looking at a widget.

Rosati_28dayslater_prototype_changes 4 Rosati_28dayslater_prototype_changes 3

New icons were created to better communicate the severity icons and calendar display.

Rosati_28dayslater_prototype_changes Rosati_28dayslater_prototype_changes 5

Icons needed to look more like buttons. The outline and words in the paper prototype helped users understand these were buttons that could be manipulated.



Scenario 1                 Rosati_28dayslater_scenarios 1


Environment: Living room with husband on a Thursday night after dinner.

Goal: Find out when the next period will be.

Procedure: “Hey honey, Aaron and Grace want to know if we’re up for camping next week.”

“Just a sec, let me check.” Ruth grabs her phone off the coffee table and glances at the tracker’s countdown widget. “APOCALYPSE IN [18] DAYS,” it proclaims.

“Sure, sounds fun.”

Outcome: Ruth goes camping the next week without worrying about the inconvenience and pain of her period.


Scenario 2    docoffice

Environment: Waiting room at a doctor’s office before a yearly check-up.  There are a few other people in the waiting room.

Goal: Figure out the date of last period.

Procedure: The nurse hands Nick the clipboard and walks out of the room. Smoker, allergies to medication, family history… “No”, “None”, “cancer and diabetes, mom’s side”.

Then comes the dreaded “when was the date of your last period?” He always has trouble remembering. He pulls out his phone and taps on his period tracker, then pulls open the calendar. First of September — he swipes back to the previous month. There it is, marked in red! He carefully writes down 8/20, then puts his phone back into his pocket.

Outcome: Nick reports accurate data on his intake form and feels more comfortable doing so, despite the strangers in the waiting room.

Scenario 3   inline 

Environment: Restroom at work during a break.

Goal: Enter new data for today.

Procedure: Jen grabs a wad of toilet paper and starts tugging at her pants. She’s almost zipped up when she looks down at the water. Crap.

She pulls out her phone and unlocks it with one hand as she rummages through her purse for a tampon. She flicks through her home screens until she lands on the screen with the period tracking widget. Well, it did predict cramps. She taps the “bleeding” prediction and updates it from “none” to — she looks down again — “moderate”.

Outcome: Jen quickly updates her symptoms, increasing the accuracy of future predictions.



Images were taken from a free stock photo website found by Mia from



The whole team developed the scenarios, personas, and sketches in this post. As usual, detailed notes were taken by Mia, Toni, and Skatje, and Janeen compiled the notes and drawings into this post. The whole team then edited the post in multiple iterations.

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