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Womanaid

Creating awareness of polycystic ovary syndrome

Human-Computer Interaction, IUPUI

INFO-H541 Interaction Design Practice

Team

Ching-Min Tseng, Medhavi Thakur,

Keerti Vishwanath Hegde, Sangeetha Parthasarathi

 

Role in Project

Research, UX Design, Usability Testing

Duration

8 weeks

Project Overview

PCOS is a common condition that affects 20% of women of reproductive age globally. 
However,  70% of them do not receive a diagnosis.

Womanaid is project aimed at raising awareness of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and helping potential patients manage the condition. PCOS is a common condition that affects 6-12% of women of reproductive age in the United States and 20% globally. If not properly managed, PCOS can lead to serious long-term health risks such as type II diabetes, depression, high blood pressure or cholesterol levels, sleep apnea, and heart stroke. Unfortunately, 70% of women do not receive a diagnosis and treatment due to undetected signs, symptoms that mimic those experienced during adolescence, and the cost of medical treatment. womanaid seeks to address this issue by increasing awareness, lowering the barriers to seeking medical help, and building a supportive community where patients can share experiences and motivate each other. The project includes advertisements printed on menstrual products distributed on college campuses, an online symptom checker, and a website offering expert assistance and helpful information to manage PCOS. By providing accessible and reliable resources, womanaid aims to empower women with PCOS to take control of their health and prevent long-term health issues.

Problem Framing

Patients are unaware of PCOS until they experienced menstrual issues for several years, and they face several challenges when seeking medical help and managing their condition.

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Secondary Research

Understanding the causes and symptoms of PCOS is crucial to developing effective interventions to manage the condition. PCOS is a complex condition with multiple potential causes, including genetics, high levels of androgens, and high insulin levels. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and not all women experience all of them. Common symptoms include irregular periods or complete absence of periods, fertility issues, excessive hair growth on the face, chest, back, buttocks, weight gain, hair loss, and acne. Long-term health risks associated with PCOS include type II diabetes, depression, high blood pressure or cholesterol levels, sleep apnea, and heart stroke. These risks can have a significant impact on women's mental health and quality of life. Unfortunately, women with PCOS face several challenges when seeking medical help and managing their condition, including undetected signs, symptoms that mimic those experienced during adolescence, and the cost of medical treatment. Additionally, the abundance of information available online can be overwhelming and confusing for individuals seeking guidance on managing their PCOS. It is clear that more accessible and reliable resources are needed to help women with PCOS manage their condition and prevent long-term health issues.

Interview Protocols

To gain a deeper understanding of the experiences of PCOS patients, we conducted interviews with individuals who have been diagnosed with the condition. We asked questions about their demographics, how they were diagnosed, their symptoms, treatments they have tried, their mental state, and the difficulties they have faced.

  • Demographic Information: We first gathered demographic information, including age, occupation, and lifestyle, to better understand how PCOS can affect individuals from different backgrounds.

  • Diagnosis Process: We asked participants about how they found out they had PCOS and when they were diagnosed. Several participants reported experiencing menstrual issues for several years before being diagnosed in their early twenties. Others reported discovering their condition during routine medical checkups.

  • Symptoms: We asked participants about the symptoms they experienced and which ones they were most concerned about. The most common symptoms reported were hormone imbalances, irregular periods, skin problems, and weight gain. One participant mentioned that their severe symptoms significantly impacted their career choices and fertility.

  • Treatment: We asked participants if they sought help from healthcare professionals and what treatment options they were offered. Most participants had consulted with healthcare professionals, and some were taking medication to manage their symptoms. However, some participants reported difficulty following healthcare professionals' advice and feeling overwhelmed by the amount of information available online.

  • Mental State: We asked participants about their reactions to being diagnosed with PCOS and their family members' reactions. Many participants reported feeling frustrated with the lack of awareness and understanding of PCOS among the general public, which often led to misconceptions and stigmatization.

  • Difficulties: We asked participants about the difficulties they faced due to PCOS and how they dealt with them. Many participants expressed a desire for a supportive community where they could connect with other individuals with PCOS and share their experiences.

Based on the interviews, we found that some participants were unaware of PCOS until they experienced menstrual issues for several years and were diagnosed in their early twenties. The most common symptoms reported by the interviewees were hormone imbalance, irregular periods, skin problems, and weight gain. One participant shared that their severe symptoms had a significant impact on their career choices and fertility.

Mental support was also discussed during the interviews, with one participant mentioning that they joined a support group of 60 females undergoing IVF anonymously. This suggests that individuals with PCOS may benefit from connecting with others who share similar experiences.

Overall, our interviews provided valuable insights into the challenges faced by PCOS patients, and will help inform the design of our solution to address these issues.

To manage different interviews were done by each individual team member, we used the affinity diagram to organize our findings.

Personas

Creating personas is an effective way to visualize and empathize with the target users of the product or service. Based on the information gathered from secondary reviews and interviews, we created two personas to represent our target users.

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Design Exploration

By educating people about PCOS, especially young girls in elementary school, we can facilitate early detection of symptoms and enable patients to receive timely medical care to mitigate the risks associated with the condition.

During the design exploration phase, we generated various ideas and prototypes to address the issues identified through our research. For the first issue, creating awareness, we thought about creating a social media campaign, partnering with healthcare professionals to distribute informational materials, and developing an educational app. For the second issue, we considered developing a health and wellness app that could help women with PCOS track their nutrition, exercise, and other lifestyle factors. For the third issue, offering mental support, we thought about creating a forum or support group where women could share their experiences and receive support from others going through the same struggles.

We also created storyboards to visualize how these ideas might be implemented and used by our target users. For example, one storyboard depicted a woman using our health and wellness app to track her nutrition and exercise, while another showed a woman participating in a virtual support group to connect with others who have PCOS.

Through our design exploration, we aimed to create solutions that would empower women with PCOS to take control of their health and wellbeing. We considered user-centered design principles to ensure that our solutions would be intuitive, accessible, and relevant to our target users.

Brainstorming

We conducted three brainstorming sessions and generated a total of 80 concepts to address the issues identified in our research. In addition to our own ideas, we also examined existing apps related to the menstrual cycle and women's health, such as Flo Period Tracker, Clue Period & Cycle Tracker, MyFitnessPal, and Kitchen Stories, to gain insights on how others have approached the problem.

During the third session, we found that our discussion was greatly improved, and we were able to generate more focused and promising ideas. We individually considered the ideas, mapped them out, and then held a final meeting to select the top three solutions. We realized that understanding competitors' solutions and discussing their advantages before generating our own ideas could be helpful in future brainstorming sessions.

We created two storyboards for each proposed design alternative to depicting a critical use case for each design solution.

Storyboarding

We created storyboards for each proposed design alternative to depicting a critical use case for each design solution.

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Design Solution Choice

After conducting extensive research and brainstorming sessions, we concluded that addressing PCOS requires a multi-faceted approach that includes raising awareness, offering assistance, and promoting lifestyle modifications such as diet and exercise. We believe that increasing awareness about PCOS is critical, as many individuals are unaware of this condition, even those who are suffering from it. By educating people about PCOS, especially young girls in elementary school, we can facilitate early detection of symptoms and enable patients to receive timely medical care to mitigate the risks associated with the condition.

The second most important solution is to offer assistance. Our interviews with PCOS patients revealed that many had not received adequate medical assistance or understanding of their condition. Given that PCOS can present with a variety of symptoms beyond irregular periods, it is often misdiagnosed, leaving patients unsure of how to care for themselves. Additionally, the cost of medical care can deter some individuals from seeking help. Therefore, it is essential to offer support to those who have received a diagnosis of PCOS and those who suspect they may have it.

In conclusion, our proposed solutions focus on creating awareness, offering assistance, and promoting healthy lifestyle modifications to address the challenges associated with PCOS effectively.

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Wireframes & Testing

After finalizing the design solution, we began creating a low-fidelity prototype using Figma. The purpose of this prototype was to conduct quick usability tests and gather feedback to make necessary adjustments before investing in a higher-fidelity prototype. By using a low-fidelity prototype, we could focus on the functionality of the design rather than its aesthetics. We used Figma, a user interface design tool, to create the wireframe prototype quickly.

See the prototype via Figma

Usability Testing

After creating a low-fidelity prototype of womanaid, we conducted usability tests with five participants to evaluate the user flow and gather feedback. The Think-aloud method was used to understand how users interpret the information and identify any confusing parts of the design. Two tasks were designed to represent the core value of womanaid: booking an expert session and exploring the community and chatting with a mentor.

Based on the testing, we identified areas of improvement in our design. We used the Usability Aspect Report (UAR) template to organize our observations and insights.

Samples of Usability Aspect Report form

Based on the key insights obtained from our usability test, we made necessary improvements to our womanaid design to enhance the user experience. Firstly, we revised the button labels to clearly indicate their functions, reducing any confusion and improving the user's anticipation of the next action. We also implemented the grouping of related information visually, ensuring users could quickly and easily find the information they need, and not misinterpret it. Additionally, we made sure that any pop-up functions, such as the login process, did not interrupt the user's task. This allowed users to continue their task flow uninterrupted and provided a smoother user experience.

 

To address the issue of the mentor-mentee system in our community page lacking an introduction, we created an introductory section to help users understand the system better. Furthermore, we modified the direct messaging function to make it clear to users whom they can send messages to, addressing the confusion pointed out by our users.

 

It is also worth noting that our insights page, which provides categorized information about PCOS, was well-received by both PCOS patient-users and non-patient-users. Non-patient-users found the page helpful in quickly understanding what PCOS is, while PCOS-patient-users used the page to identify if our service was trustworthy, which affected their decision to book a session with our experts.

 

Overall, the usability test provided us with valuable insights that helped us improve the usability and user experience of Womanaid. 

Final Design

To reach maximum target audiaunce, who are younger and have lesser knowledge about PCOS, we intend to cooperate with the Aunt Flow company, witch offer solutions for schools and business to provide free menstral prodducts, used by 900+ orginazation[6]. ​

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The scenario begin with - a student take a menstrual product. While using it, she sees a quote on the package, asking: 

"Did you know 6–12% of women of reproductive age are suffering from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)?"

with a QR code on it. After scanning the QR code, she will be led to our website, and a quick test to know the possibility of her having PCOS. How we design the test, is using all the common questions that doctor ask verbally to determine the likeliness of the patient having PCOS. We also have a disclaimer on the test, to let the user know the result of the test does not equal doctor's dianosis.

 

When finishing the test, the user can quickly accquire the result, Which is "Very High", "High", "Medium" and "Low". The users who get above Medium result, the result page will present "Book a session with expert" on top of the suggestion to encourage them book a free 15 minutes session with an expert. For all users, they can access "Meet the community" and "See the insights" to gain more information and education with PCOS.

When the user go to the "Expert help" page, she will se the doctors whose expertise falls on the symptoms that she has, filled in by the previous test. She can see the experts' profile, expertise, and reviews, and decide to book a free online session with the selected expert. She will receive notification when the session is about to start. 

People avoid visiting doctors for help because of worrying the expense. These expert session does not include official diagnosis. It aims to provide a quick and easy check from the doctors, let them seggest if the patient need to make a visit to clinics to profrom more detailed examination.

 

The experts in Womanaid will be medical proffesionals who are willing to volunteer to help the potential patients. We are mindful that doctors might not be willing to participate, so we have these session as short as 15 minutes, and will be focusing on recruiting young professions. For the expert, participate in our platform is also a way to gain credibility

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The users can also visit other pages in Womanaid, "Community" provide a safe space for patients and supporters to share experience, diet plan, and mental support. We also introduce mentor and mentee program. People who volunteer to be a mentor, will receive questions from mentees. We aim to Build a strong community for the PCOS related people to feel safe and supported.

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See our work via Figma

Thank you for reading!

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