Day 1: Planning & brief
This weeks brief was given by randomly selecting a card from the board game ‘Dixit’ and a news headline of our choice. The combination of two stimulus are to spark our product ideas.
The card was randomly generated by our University tutor, and the headline was chosen by glancing at LSN Global News and selecting what caught my eye. Yes, it’s an odd combination…
In this task I aim to explore user journeys in detail and make sure I’m considering the real needs of my chosen audience. As the practice of UX has been moving towards an an outcome-based-approach, we focus on user satisfaction and completion of objectives as a success metric. This approach accepts that needs change & develop as we learn more and the user learns from using the product. (UXDX Europe 2020) However with this rapid ideation project I have limited time and resources, so I’ll need to come up with creative ways to quantify my product design decisions.
To kick off my ideation I did a quick brainstorm to extract ideas from both the creative stimulus, limiting myself to 5 minutes for each. Initially the concepts that emerged were very abstract, raw and intangible. Next I created an ‘opposite thinking’ board (Board of Innovaiton. 2021) using the words from my brainstorm, with the aim to progress from loose thoughts to tangible ideas. I used Notion’s Kanban template and timed 15 minutes. This turned out to be an effective creative activity for me to go from abstraction and metaphors into identifying problems and solutions.
Opposite thinking timelapse
Day 3: Researching FemTech
After ideating the solutions I wanted to explore, I decided that I was still making assumptions and that I needed more data to back up my decisions. So I went about researching the areas of: women’s health, sexual wellness, education. I’ve been accompanying a few startups in the area of what is referred to as FemTech, the industry is in the midst of transformation, and investors are realising the value in start-ups focused on women’s health and wellness. FemTech is expected to reach $50 billion in funding By 2025. (LSN. 2019)
The symbolism of the key in my initial image sparked the idea to explore the concept of unlocking content, perhaps in a gamified way in educational apps, or unlocking content in exchange of personal data. So I’m also focusing my research towards data exchange & visualisation, the use of locked and unlocked features and apps which include gamification.
There is some controversy around the use of the term FemTech, some argue that the term is not inclusive, whilst others believe that it’s just tech companies capitalising on womens’ anxiety and desire. (Aurat Raaj, educating young girls on menstrual health and Touchy Feely Tech which encourages playful introductions into programming and Elvie who’s smart pelvic floor trainer & breast pump, were created for the wellness of new mothers: “We did a lot of user research to develop [the products] and we kept hearing that the products now available were really dehumanising.” (LSN. 2019), VOX, 2018) The term is really used to describe technological advancements in women’s health. It is less ‘lifestyle’ and more ‘medtech’. I’m open to the idea that FemTech is not a fad but a movement in pushing women’s health into the spotlight after years of being under-researched and underrepresented. It’s an empowering use of technology to research, test and create solutions to issues faced by half of the planet’s population. (Capriccio, Megan. 2019). I see that the term can be considered problematic, in terms of pigeon-holing a diverse range of products into one category. In which there many diverse technologies such as
The period tracker app Clue is an early pioneer in the category, with over 13 million users (LOMAS. 2021). They are transparent about their use of data to improve the app, and actively take part in medical research to educate people with cycles on their health. I chose this app as a reference to explore data visualisation & previewing locked content within the app.
Analysing Clue App
My conclusion from this research is that there are people willing to give data on their health to companies that they trust to use for the purpose of developing a helpful technology. I also conducted a short questionnaire with 10 women aged 25 – 40. 100% of participants said that they would give data about their sexual health if they knew it would be contributing to research to help others. They also confirmed the news headline that I chose, participants on average rated their sexual education 4 on a scale of 1-10, 1 being ‘poor or toxic’, 10 being ‘excellent’.
Day 4: Down the research rabbit hole
So far my concept was an app linking FemTech startups to user research, with the key feature for the public being the ability to unlock free educational content & first access to products by answering surveys. However I started to question the concept of a niche app of this type, whether it would provide enough audience members to conduct successful user research campaigns. Also whether the start-up brands would have the resources to provide benefits exciting enough to incentivise people to participate.
I started going down a rabbit hole with my concept, and sketching out both sign-up journeys was already creating so many different screens that I begun to feel overwhelmed. I recognise that I got quite caught up in the hype around the growing FemTech scene, and spent a lot of time researching the industry with little focus on feature & functionality of the products.
So I decided to zoom out of the industry and focus on functionality. I started to search for startups who are connecting brands to user research opportunities, tech which harnesses user data in a transparent way, and sites which unlock benefits or content through user participation.
I found it hard to find an app that unlocks content using data in exchange, monetisation of advanced features seems to be the norm. But I found 2 user testing apps for businesses, Remesh and Maze. I used a research method whereby the researcher simulates actions or behaviors intended by the end users, called Bodystorming to test Maze, it’s like putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, so to speak. So I went through the registration process imagining myself as an entrepreneur who wants to conduct research campaigns to develop innovative a new health education product.
Their signup form doesn’t re-invent the wheel, it’s a simplified version of a process that users are used to, splitting stages of registration into multiple screens rather than a long page form means that the user doesn’t get overwhelmed, it’s like holding their hand through the process. Their minimal use of colour and clever use of columns add to the feel of overall simplicity & ease of use.
Where it starts to get slightly complicated are the many options for types of template / campaign that start-ups can use to gather data. This is all well and good for Maze’s audience of big tech companies with large teams. However I see that for my own app, the choices should be basic and tailored to the niche start-ups in the FemTech sector. I will also consider my product an MVP which itself will grow alongside the start-ups it serves.
My goal is to have my concept clear, user journey and features sketched out for Tuesday (day 8), still in note format so that my ideas can be challenged and added to. Though the idea of changing too much at this stage is rather anxiety-inducing, I’m also looking forward to seeing my peers and tutors pick apart my ideas.
I’m leaning towards the idea of prototyping the user journey from the start-up’s perspective, rather than the public. Creating a vertical slice of the onboarding process to launching a research campaign. I feel that if this were an industry project, the FemTech startups would be the key stakeholders, it would be created by a team with experience & contacts in the industry, so working on and testing the business side would come first. With this in mind, I’ve started mapping out the user journey.
De A’ECGEVARRIA, Anne. 2009. ‘Assessing Creative Development: The ICEDIP Model’. Teaching Expertise. Available at: teachingexpertise.com/articles/assessing-creative-development-the-icedip-model. [accessed 22 June 2021].
BOARD OF INNOVATION. 2021. ‘Opposite Thinking’. Board of Innovation [online] .Available at: https://www-lsnglobal-com.eu1.proxy.openathens.net/news/article/23148/stat-femtech-funding-has-quadrupled-in-the-last-five-years. [accessed 24 June 2021].
CAPRICCIO, Megan. 2019. ‘FemTech: Controversial or necessary?’ [online]. Available at: email@example.com/femtech-controversial-or-necessary-a0eb02bc75a6. [accessed 24 June 2021].
LOMAS, Natasha. 2021. ‘Clue gets FDA clearance’. Tech Crunch [online]. Available at: techcrunch.com/2021/03/01/clue-gets-fda-clearance-to-launch-a-digital-contraceptive. [accessed 24 June 2021].
LSN News. 2018. ‘Stat: Femtech funding has quadrupled in the last five years’. LSN Global [online].Available at: https://www-lsnglobal-com.eu1.proxy.openathens.net/news/article/23148/stat-femtech-funding-has-quadrupled-in-the-last-five-years. [accessed 24 June 2021].
NEVES, Flavia, Sudev Balakrishnan. 2020. ‘Bridging the Gap to Ensure Business Alignment Between Product and Dev’. UXDX 2020. Available at: uxdx.com/session/recq80ewtCym7VnQI. [viewed 24 June 2021].
SMITH. Jessica. 2018. ‘Technology is Transforming Women’s Personal Care’. LSN Global [online]. Available at: https://www-lsnglobal-com.eu1.proxy.openathens.net/big-ideas/article/22880/tania-boler-on-how-technology-is-transforming-women-s-personal-care. [accessed 24 June 2021].
Fig 1: Featured Image. ‘1st Rapid Ideation’ text. Artwork by author. 2021.
Fig 2: Dixit Cards. Photo from university content. Falmouth University. 2021
Fig 3: Screen shot from LSN Global. LSN News. 2018. ‘Stat: Femtech funding has quadrupled in the last five years’. LSN Global [online].Available at: https://www-lsnglobal-com.eu1.proxy.openathens.net/news/article/23148/stat-femtech-funding-has-quadrupled-in-the-last-five-years.
Fig 4: Opposite Thinking Timelapse. Video by author of working process. 2021
Fig 5: Analysing Clue app. Screenshare video of Clue app. 2021. Available at: https://helloclue.com.
Fig 6: Analysing Maze.co. 2021. Available at: maze.co
Fig 7: Photo of sketchbook. 2021. By author.