In collaboration with two other designers, I led the design of the onboarding flow, co-led the user research, and created the product video.
User interface specification
High fidelity prototype
A mobile application that empowers people to manage their menopause experience through personalized data visualizations, curated content, and lifestyle tips.
Advised by Smashing Ideas and Etsy.
Menopause affects half of the world’s population; it can cause hot flashes, insomnia, weight fluctuations, and other uncomfortable experiences, and these biological changes can last for up to ten years. Menopause also occurs at a time where people are experiencing life changes such as children moving out of their homes to loved ones requiring end-of-life care. Amidst all of these changes, menopause is a frequently stereotyped, sensitive, and taboo topic, which has rendered it relatively under-supported in today’s society.
Menopause occurs when a person has stopped menstruating for 12 consecutive months. It is a normal and natural transition that people typically go through in their early 50s. By medicalizing menopause, we generalize the experience and create an expectation that treatment is needed. Like puberty, menopause is a natural transition that varies among people.
Because we consider menopause a natural phase of life, we avoid using the word “symptoms” and use “signals" instead, as in a signal from your body.
Vera helps you learn about your menopause experience through data visualization, personalized resources, and lifestyle tips. By building your body literacy, you can make better informed decisions about your unique menopause experience.
Track menopausal signals and other metrics to manage your biological changes and externalize what is happening to you.
Explore data visualizations to review, compare, and predict your menopause timeline.
Discover tips, articles, or facts that are relevant to your menopause experience through a personalized news feed.
Complete short questionnaires to capture your lifestyle and go beyond what can be tracked day-to-day.
We interviewed experts from various fields to better understand menopause from different cultural, medical, and historical perspectives.
For our semi-structured interviews, we spoke with six people experiencing menopause. We wanted to gain an understanding of their menopausal experience and how it has impacted their lives; from work to relationships to self-image.
Building upon what we heard about people’s personal experiences, we now wanted to harness the collective mindset of menopausal people. In order to accomplish this, we held a participatory workshop with eight people.
Before the workshop, we didn’t have a clear audience yet. We didn’t know if we wanted to focus on people with menopause, premenopausal people, or secondary groups that are impacted by menopause.
Unexpectedly, we found the answer during our workshop’s prioritization activity. During the activity, we learned that on an individual level people wanted their signals alleviated, while on a collective level they felt that the menopausal community could benefit from more support. Because of this observation, we felt that there were richer design opportunities with people experiencing menopause because signals directly and indirectly affected them.
However, our final design concept may have cascading effects on premenopausal people, people experiencing perimenopause, and their wider environment such as partners, family members, and coworkers.
After 10 weeks of iterative research, we took what we learned and sketched 100 concepts. We went as broadly as possible; from speculative designs such as a Google Map exploration of the body to the quirky idea of a meno-gotchi to more conventional concepts such as a heat-sensing wearable.
We then narrowed down our concepts to four possible design directions. Each concept explored a different opportunity space within menopause: community support, signals alleviation, or tailored resources.
We then interviewed five people for feedback on each concept.
A personalized lifestyle website that is based on questionnaires about a person's menopause experience.
A paid subscription service that provides personalized products to menopausal individuals.
A website where a person can host or attend a menopause-related event.
A bra that can cool a person down during a hot flash. Paired with an app to visualize hot flash patterns.
Using what we learned, we decided to combine different aspects of our four concepts into a mobile app that personalizes and curates content to each person’s unique menopause experience.
Through our user research and initial round of concept testing, it became clear to us that tangible and actionable information is a coping strategy for a majority of menopausal people. Therefore, we wanted to create a design response that provided people with personalized menopause information that they can choose to act upon. We tested this concept with five more people to understand what their motivations and goals would be if they used Vera.
Below are some examples of screens used during the usability testing:
Using what we learned from usability testing, we then decided to prioritize data visualizations which would be supplemented by personalized resources. We created hi-fi prototypes and tested various interaction models as well as Vera's visual language with five additional users.
We've documented and outlined both the visual system and mobile app system in our UI Specification. For our visual system, we detailed visual elements such as Vera's typography and illustrations. Then for our mobile application system, we showcased annotated screens, key path scenarios, interaction flows, and Vera's site map.
Designing for menopause has taught me a lot about designing for intimate spaces, especially when it comes to inclusivity.
It is difficult to design for everyone, but we must ask ourselves if we are unintentionally excluding people through elements such as language. Is the vocabulary we’re using neutral and clear? Does our visual language reflect the diversity of ethnicities, ages, abilities, and more?
For my thoughts and key takeaways, please visit my Design Voices piece on menopause and inclusive design.