Woman-Centered Sexual Wellness

Research, Strategy & Experience Design

About | The goal of this project was to conduct exploratory research on a theme of our choice, uncover insights and opportunity areas, produce a non-digital concept that responds to our research, and tell a compelling story about our idea in a video and pitch.

Timeline | Four weeks

Team | Helen Hu, Elizabeth Larson, Myself

Contribution | Research planning, exploratory interviewing, survey design, concept testing interviewing, research synthesis, concept development, video storytelling, branding


1 | Research Planning

We mapped research phases and necessary decision milestones with their associated dates.

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Our original plan included a generative participatory workshop which we ultimately had to abandon due to time constraints.


In the same session, we mapped the territory we were interesting in designing for – young women’s sexual wellness and it’s relationship with birth control decision making. This gave us a ten thousand foot view of the system and it’s stakeholders from which to situate our research.

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Knowing that the user we are most interested in serving might be less capable of giving honest answers in an interview, we decided to engage users in an anonymous long answer survey with the option to add their contact details for follow up if they wish. I suggested we supplement our research methods with Web Eavesdropping in order to further circumvent some of the taboo associated with sexual wellness.

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We then made a more granular plan for the coming weeks and allocated tasks to one another.


2 | Exploratory Research

We conducted interviews with practicing professionals who work with young women (and men) in varied sexual wellness contexts including birth control, abortion, pleasure, consent and mental health.

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We collaborated on survey design and arrived at four categories of inquiry – (1) qualifier questions, (2) user’s current solutions to current pain points, (3) user’s personal values around sexual wellness, and (4) how user’s make decisions and weigh risks and benefits. Some questions we filtered out as serving better for follow up interviews.

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We produced the digital survey and made significant edits based on two user tests before deploying to all research participants. One of the challenges in building the survey was to use inclusive language regarding gender and sexual orientation while being primarily interested in folks who had reason to seek contraception.

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3 | Research Synthesis

We divided up our primary research and each pulled “juicy” quotes that revealed user mental models, behaviors, feelings, motivations, and pain points.

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For the sake of organizing and communicating our insights we grouped these into emergent themes. We were cognizant not to filter out the inherent complexity of each theme, and identified high-level quotes (and category titles) that captured the varied perspectives embedded in each.

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We then translated these into a slide deck for presenting, using the “what we heard / what we learned / what that means” framework in order to convey how the research (what we heard) meaningfully connects to the design implications (what that means).


Medical Mindsets, Motivations & Pleasure

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Anecdotal Information, Media & Friends

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Autonomy, Power & Gender

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Embarrassment, Shame & Privacy

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4 | Ideation

We scaffolded our ideation session using prompt sentences that followed the rule: “a thing X (e.g. a campaign) used by Y person (e.g. partners of women considering birth control), that centers design implication Z (e.g. autonomy, power and gender)”. We sketched ideas based on these prompts independently to avoid group think and brought together a total of 22 distinct ideas to review as a team.

We then mapped our ideas, grouped like ideas, and ranked them based on our shared sense of how they might improve the birth control navigating experience for users based on our research.


5 | Concept Development

We took the top three concepts and each translated one into storyboards to visually demonstrate how the user might discover and engage with each.

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To avoid distraction and bias, I rapidly converted these storyboards to a consistent style before presenting to users.

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6 | Concept Evaluation

To ensure quality of testing, we produced a research protocol to use during storyboard speed-dating sessions with users.

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We walked each other through the concept evaluation interviews we had each completed, capturing salient points as we read through.

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Users liked the idea of a pop-up activity, though there was concern from one user group who were suspicious of the pop-ups motivations given the extremely well-disguised advertising and engagements from pro-life groups. We asked those users to tell us about times when they did engage with sexual wellness outreach in the past to find out what it was that built trust, and incorporated that into our final concept. We also talked about how this high-knowledge low-shame user group didn’t necessarily represent the majority of users we were targeting.


This project is still under construction – check back for more soon!