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Design challenge - the positive aspects of menstruation

Companies and organisations can benefit from the support from students, when facing design challenges connected to their products. This is an example of such challenge.

The challenge, proposed and described by Sarah Homewood

What would a device that helped users track other, perhaps more positive aspects, of the menstrual cycle look like and function?

The menstrual cycle occurs on a physiological level, e.g. menstruation and ovulation, but also at an emotional level. Many people experience drops in energy levels, pain, and mood swings at different points in the menstrual cycle, most commonly, pre-menstrual tension (PMT) before menstruation. These more negative, aspects are accounted for by current menstrual cycle tracking devices. However, there are other emotional aspects of the menstrual cycle at other points in the cycle, for example, an increase in energy in the first phase after menstruation, or an increase in libido during ovulation, that are not reflected in the design of the current devices. We can argue that this communicates a negative perspective on the menstrual cycle within society

Sarah Homewood's website and publications.

Students' work

To address this design challenge, students at the bachelor's programme of Cognition Science followed a design model and a user-centered design perspective focusing on users' needs and wishes. They investigated what is negatively and positively connotated in the apps already in the market and what the users seek in this tool. They also held interviews and focus groups with relevant stakeholders e.g. people with menstruation and experts on tech for female health. They thematically analyzed their data creating personas that help them focus their design to their audience. They evaluated their prototype with users and experts.

The course within the programme focuses on understanding the users and exploring how their needs can be translated into interfaces by applying design, behavior, and cognition theories learned in the first year of their studies. The students address design challenges in a short timeframe, and they need to balance resources with the best possible design outcome. Some of the design challenges – like this one – are given by experts outside of the university.

Do you have a design challenge for our students?

Does your company or organization face a design challenge you would like our students to help you out with? Send a message to with the subject "Design Challenge".