Navigating Menopause: The power of human connection - A UX Story
Developed a community feature for the existing Embr Labs app to provide emotional support for menopausal women
Led Product Strategy,
Research Synthesis, Storyboard, and Ideation.
Collaborated with the team for visual design and user interaction design.
Figma, Airtable, Miro, Google Sheets, Adobe creative suite, Slack, Zoom.
User Journey Map
Since its release, Embr Labs' temperature control wristbands have helped people with a wide range of identities and experiences. But the Wave 2 found its home with menopausal women suffering from hot flashes, brain fog, sleep disturbances, stress, and anxiety.
Is there more to what the Embr Labs can do for women going through a menopausal transition?
How could we provide a robust solution that will cater to each unique need while accommodating the various needs of diverse menopause journeys?
Knowing women navigating menopause - who are they, why are they having these feelings, and what they need at different stages of menopause - was crucial to this project.
The solution was to provide a menopause community feature for women empowering them to take better care of themselves and helping them change the narrative of how menopause is perceived.
The first step was to understand the user base - women at various stages of menopause:
What do these women experiencing menopause need so that they feel better equipped to navigate this phase in their lives?
What are the challenges and what does it take for the women to overcome the challenges that they face?
What might a grassroots approach look like?
What might a global initiative look like?
How to know when these women are ready to take these next steps to help themselves?
To find out answers to these questions we conducted 10 user interviews with women at different stages of menopause.
The second step was to understand what women were looking for while navigating the menopause phase.
12 women answered our survey about the impact of menopause symptoms on their life and what might help them to deal with it in a better way.
Lately, our society has started opening up about menopause and there is increasing awareness about the causes of various symptoms - how nutrition, exercise, and mindfulness might influence the severity of symptoms. A few ways of engagement avenues for women to try are:
Listen to podcasts
Join online communities for the latest research findings
Join social media groups
Apps offering community connection for women navigating menopause
So the next step was to see what apps were available and analyze their strengths and weaknesses.
Then to see how comparable apps communicate with users? How do those create a sense of community and communicate wellness?
The next step was to define the user base.
I conducted the task-oriented analysis to define our user base and built the persona, Kelsey.
Once Kelsey knows that she’s having menopause symptoms, she needs to make sure that she’s finding time to take care of herself and is getting the emotional support that she needs at this stage.
She would like to stay anonymous about it, she’s anxious and stressed about the negativity of this phase and the impact of symptoms on her life.
And the missing knowledge from Kelsey's perspective - how other women are faring and what they are doing about it. and how can we bridge that gap with our design?
Then I used various UX tools to synthesize and analyze our research findings.
The first one is the User Journey Map.
Let's look at what Kelsey is doing, what she’s thinking and feeling, throughout her menopause journey - from the onset of symptoms through her transition into finding support, and how she is navigating through this challenging phase in her life.
This underscored that Kelsey needs to take care of the emotional aspect of menopause, she needs the motivation to take care of herself, and connecting with other women in a similar situation is important to change her outlook towards this challenging phase.
The smileys on the graph at the bottom show Kelsey's overall feeling at each stage, and the red and yellow ones highlighted opportunities for us - To improve Kelsey's experience especially when she is at her low points.
Next, I looked at Kelsey’s journey map from the business perspective. Mapping of user touchpoints with support processes revealed missing service components.
What opportunities can be captured while I seek to improve Kelsey’s experience?
The main takeaway here is - An opportunity to provide Kelsey with tools to log and track her symptoms and activities so that she can find useful trends and actionable insights, something that our competition is also trying to address. Doing this will also give us insights into user behavior that will be useful in making our product better over time.
The feature to share the learnings from the logs with each other will be useful in fostering a sense of community and will help with increasing and retaining our user base.
Also, when Kelsey first starts searching for menopause-related questions online, we have the opportunity to tap her at that early stage by keeping track of trending questions and keeping our webpage updated to cater to those - this could be articles, stories, that feature menopause as a positive phase in life. This could be the next phase of our project.
This user journey and service mapping helped me align the business goals and Kelsey’s goals. For this project making Kelsey feel connected, in control of herself as well as keeping her motivated is the goal and it will help us increase user engagement, increase conversion rate and ultimately gain more insights into user behavior.
With this understanding of project goals, I dived into Task Analysis.
I broke down each of Kelsey’s high-level tasks further broken down into detailed tasks until I knew exactly how Kelsey might perform it in the app, one step at a time.
What is Kelsey’s goal while she is performing each of these tasks? and what is needed from our side for each of the steps? The goal is to provide Kelsey with a clear and seamless way to fulfill her goal and create a meaningful experience.
By doing this we were able to pinpoint the missing knowledge for Kelsey that we needed to build into our app, let’s take a look at that.
That helped me define the main Problem Statement:
Kelsey needs relief from the physical and emotional discomforts of the menopausal experience and seeks support and a sense of normalcy about what she is experiencing.
To provide the best solution possible I looked at multiple ways that we’d improve the experience for Kelsey.
Next, I put myself in Kelsey’s shoes to experience her journey.
So, as we reflected on how we might address Kelsey’s needs within the purview of her holistic experience with menopause. We knew we wanted to create a safe and engaged community where she can share her experience and feel less isolated on her menopause journey.
One that would help transform the narrative from “Am I going crazy?” to “I’m not alone”
As women experiencing a life transition that may be uncomfortable but has the potential to be empowering.
So we started thinking about ways to provide menopausal women with the opportunity to take stock of their own experiences, through self-reflection. To cross-reference it with other women's experiences through Community interaction and three, all the while reflecting on how their perceptions and menopause can progressively be shifted into the more empowering self-talk.
And, before Kelsey can meaningfully connect with others, she needs to do a bit of self-assessment.
We began to ideate and developed a concept that would function as a sort of well-being audit, specifically geared toward the menopausal experience, that women can reflect on daily and share with one another. And, in doing so, connect with themselves and each other on a deeper level.
Kelsey may not be able to fully control her symptoms but tracking them provides her the opportunity to determine patterns and compare them to other women's experiences so she can connect the dots and make actionable modifications to her habits or simply take solace in knowing that she is a member of a huge community of women simultaneously experiencing this life transition.
Given the emphasis on the emotional aspects of menopause, we considered the connection between emotion and color. And how the lightness, brightness, and saturation can communicate the level of seriousness, intensity, and emotional weight.
We found inspiration in the rainy weather!
So while we can not stop the rain from falling, we may still be able to predict when it is going to rain and can leave the house armed with an umbrella.
The visual above helped us determine how we could harness color psychology to communicate this lived experience through color.
Now we visualize the flow of Kelsey's feelings through meaningful visuals representative of their experience. So, with all this in mind we designed a mobile app experience and this takes us to Kelsey's morning interaction with our product.
User Flow for Morning Prompt
Kelsey wakes up in the morning to a push notification, which we call a "gentle reminder" in this display, encouraging words submitted by a fellow user of the app.
On clicking this notification Kelsey is taken to the app where she could respond to the morning prompt, to be shared with fellow users, setting a positive tone for her day.
At the end of the day, whether it was a good one otherwise, the app provides a safe space to reflect on the day.
User Flow for Daily Reflection
Evening daily reflection prompt - to log feeling, symptoms and activities
And so, in the evening, Kelsey receives a push notification reminding her to perform this audit, the overall feeling of that day, the activities that she engaged in, and reflect on the day to answer the daily prompt.
Kelsey is able to compare today's emotions, with the past few days and clearly see an overview of her symptoms compared to the activity and glean insights from that about what works and what doesn't.
Then she can see how her day compares with other women in the community, either get motivated by seeing how their activities are helping manage symptoms or just affirm that someone else is struggling like her and feel not only less alone but also striving to nurture a positive mindset.
Overview of symptoms and activities, shows if activities are triggers or helpful remedies
Browse Other User's Overviews : Share important contextual info anonymousely
Time to check if our design delivered!
We conducted usability tests with 5 women at various stages of menopause. They were tasked with testing out scenarios based on morning prompt and evening reflection user flow.
Usability Test Results
Destigmatizing menopause on a personal level proved to be a welcome step towards the goal of destigmatizing it further on a societal level.
Changing the conversation around menopause from negative to positive proved effective for women to cultivate a positive mindset despite varying and unpredictable symptoms, user journey mapping after prototype testing confirmed this.
Proposed User Journey Map
Add in a larger compare tool to see how users compare to the community as a whole
Additional analytics for logging and tracking symptoms
Personalized notification settings for users to choose when and how often they receive notifications for morning encouragement and to log symptoms
Integrating the Wave 2
Further integrate the current Wave 2 functionality into features
Tackling trusted information
How can Embr Labs provide women with personalized and targeted expert based advice?
Creating simple ways for women to continue to share information with each other.
Provide additional outlets for women to gain emotional relief.
Continue building a robust community that will cater to each unique need while accommodating the various needs of diverse menopause journeys.