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Collective Care: Advancing menstrual health with design and collective intelligence

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thesis
posted on 07.07.2021, 15:35 authored by Anuprita Ranade
The advent of smartphones and wearables has made health tracking for self-awareness commonplace. The technology available to us today allows us to track health indicators like
sleep cycle, physical activity, heart rate, nutrition, etc. in great detail. For approximately 50% of the world’s population, the menstrual cycle is a key indicator of general health and wellbeing. However, despite being a key health indicator, the tracking of menstrual cycles currently remains a relatively unexplored and under-researched domain.
There exist many digital applications for tracking menstrual cycles. The rise in usage of these applications shows that there is a genuine need for menstrual tracking tools. However, most of these applications fail their users in many ways like lack of accuracy in predictions, wrong assumptions of the gender identity and sexual orientation of users, and a biased focus on fertility. These applications fail to provide relevant insights to menstruators for their specific needs thus rendering these applications ineffective. The user
experience of menstrual tracking tools merits design intervention. Menstruation has been historically stigmatized and this has resulted in limited research for developing
tools and technologies in this domain. This thesis is an exploration of the shortcomings of current menstrual tracking tools and technologies and identifies opportunities for design intervention. Through the course of this project, I investigated the value of period tracking by understanding
how menstruators plan their professional and social lives around their periods. I then applied my learnings to propose design principles that guide the experience design of menstrual tracking tools to enable menstruators to effectively track periods, gain self-awareness, and mitigate challenges associated with menstruation in daily life scenarios.

History

Date

19/05/2021

Degree Type

Master's Thesis

Department

Design

Degree Name

  • Master of Design (MDes)

Advisor(s)

Ashley Deal Raelynn O'Leary

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