The Day — Period Tracker App ~UXDI

The days of using pen and paper to keep track of period cycles are past.

There are over a thousand types of period tracking apps available in the market today. But which one do we use? Instead of picking the winner that is “better” than the others, I decided to create (hopefully) the “best” app, as the project at General Assembly User Experience Design Immersive program.

Logo of “The Day”

Overview

Being a student at General Assembly’s User Experience Design Immersive program, we are given exercises and projects weekly to practice the theories and principles of UXD that we learned throughout the week. After the first week of the program, our first project was to individually take all of the roles in the UXD, and create a mobile application (of any kind, however) that can be categorized in the assigned topic. We had roughly two days and a half — to first, come up with an idea, run user interviews, synthesize, develop a prototype, run usability testings, and lastly to prepare a presentation for the following Monday.

With the topic of “Health” being assigned, I had to decide on a subtopic to narrow down the focus. As I did some researches on what types of health mobile applications exist already, I finally decided to pick a period tracker as the subtopic to focus on. Reason being, I personally have been using a period tracker myself ever since I found out about the existence of such app, and went through a couple of them in the last few years. However, I haven’t had an experience of using an app that has just the right amount of features, or contents yet. So I jumped right into doing some more researches on what other users think about period trackers.

Discovery

I started my research process with interviewing females who are currently using, or have used period tracker apps, and those who have never used one (but might consider in using one). I ended up conducting 6 1:1 interviews, and 12 online surveys made with google form.

In order to begin defining what the problems of most users/potential users are, I began to synthesize the research results by creating a summary of each interviews conducted, that consists of the interviewee’s behavior (towards the topic discussed), likes, dislikes, and quotes (of the interviewee). These summarized bullet points were then each written in a post-it to turn into an affinity map.

Through affinity mapping, organizing different people’s insights into similar categories, I was able to get a clear understanding of what problems, and what opinions the users of period tracker have. These are some of the findings:

  • Almost all of the participants who use mobile period tracker uses the app often because of its convenience of calculating dates and notifications of the upcoming cycles.
  • Most of the participants use the application during their period. However, some use the app when past cycle records are needed, or when they get the sense of starting.
  • Benefits of the app were being notified of the upcoming cycles for the users to be prepared for PMS and their period, having an accurate data that the users do not have to be memorizing
  • Limitations and challenges of using the apps came from inaccurate estimations due to lack of data, or having advertisements, inconvenient ways to record data or having a large amount of unnecessary information to be recorded, being unable to store, or export data, and some design / interface challenges.
  • Most people preferred the app to be simple with basic functions to keep the app accessible and easy to use.
  • Many people wanted the app to be secured.
  • Following were wanted by users to be featured in the app; ability to transfer data, nice wordings, no advertisements, indication of mood cycles, useful tips
  • Following were wanted by users to be featured in the app; ability to transfer data, nice wordings, no advertisements, indication of mood cycles, useful tips
Every women in the world go through menstrual cycles every month, and it becomes a pain keeping track of the cycles when going through menstruation is already painful itself. 
 
 How might we help women to access data that contains both detailed and quick information on their body and mood, for them to be prepared for the upcoming period cycle, by just putting in some simple data?

Development & Delivery

Once the research phase came to an end with a problem statement and potential features to be added in the app, I wrote down the goals to acheive through the app, and necessities that I must include in the app. Then that naturally became a base information for me to create a sitemap; to figure out the most convenient way to build an app that will most likely include a lot more features than just having a calendar.

Digitalized Sitemap for “The Day”

Based on what I had in the sitemap, I started to create rough sketches of each pages of the app into iPhone6 templates. However, being a former graphic design student who works much faster digitally, I decided to create digital lo-fi wireframes instead of hand-sketching everything continuously (without a ruler, or a photocopier) to reduce the time being spent, and to create better visual deliverables.

Hand Sketches of the app in iPhone6 templates

The digital lo-fi wireframes were created with the built-in design feature in a program called Marvel, the tool I used to create prototypes.

Then I turned these wireframes screens into a prototype using Marvel. Having a neat set of digital wireframes and functions added with Marvel, the prototype was fully functioning and visible as both mobile app and desktop demo of a mobile app, to be tested by potential users.

Digital Lo-fi wireframes created with Marvel

Usability Testing

With the prototype ready to go, I conducted five usability testing with two different types of users; one being a female with an experience of using a period tracking app, and the other being a female with no experiences at all. Working with scripts, I started the usability testings with a quick introduction on myself, about what the users are going to be doing, how they should feel free to say anything about what they are doing, how they feel, etc., and lastly, that “they” are not being tested throughout this testing.

Using four scenarios and tasks designed, I gave all users one scenario and tasks to complete each session, and the users performed in how they get adjusted to a new app, and are able to complete the task given. One finished session of scenario followed up with some questions asking the user for some impressions and feedbacks, then proceeded with the next scenario. At the very end of the testings, the users were all openly sharing their insights about how the prototype of the app was, and even made a lot of suggestions for improvements.

Revisions

After receiving a lot of thoughtful feedbacks, I was suggested to divide those feedbacks into two categories; usability and usefulness.

Usability

  • All users got used to the app by the third scenario, and had no difficulties in accessing/inputing information for the rest of the sessions.
  • Users found difficulties with alternative ways to complete the task (than the suggested way) being inactive in the prototype.
  • Lack of clarity caused confusions in some features, due to the prototype being lo-fi.

Usefulness

  • Good feedbacks on couple of things; simple design, straight-forward usability of the app, having specific features (password protection, optional notes to input, data saving/backup, etc.).
  • Users enjoyed having universal icons as part of the app, which made a big part in understanding the app’s features.
  • Suggestions on rewording, features to add, and questions on existing features.

Due to lack of time, I was not able to create a set of comparison images of the original and edited wireframes, but a lot of the changes were made in the prototype, and can be seen through Marvel: https://marvelapp.com/69h2817

Following are some of the changes that I’ve made:

  • Creating more paths in the prototype for alternative ways for users to achieve the goals.
  • Adding; Instructions for new users, unlocking demo, all the dates on calendars, more data on symptoms, adding data in insights, mood to “Tap to Insert”
  • Deleting; “More” on insertion for calendar
  • Fixing; Rewording Registration date input, PMS notifications, changing Insights Icon, confusing date inputs of prototype for clarification, closing with X not <

Reflection

It was honestly a stressful process, trying to create an app with prototype that actually satisfies myself personally, and that is enjoyable to potential users. However, I did find this experience extremely valuable and (somewhat) enjoyable. Looking back at how I started this course, I am happy about how much we (the class) learned in such a short amount of time, and how much I was able to use what I’ve learned!

Now I really need some sleep.