Building a femtech product that’s inspired, informed and designed by its users

Nov 9 2020

Women make up 52% of the global population, but yet we still see products that are poorly designed and not catered to their needs. Who can forget Dell’s foray into female tech with their “Della” website that emphasised their computers’ calorie counting abilities or SEAT’s attempt to engage with a young female audience by adding jewel effect rims, eyeliner inspired headlights and a handbag hook to their predominantly purple car?

So, what’s the problem?

“Most of the founders and top product people at healthtech companies are limited in their ability to use their own apps. The reason is that the vast majority of these people are male, while most of their users are female.” Victoria Repa, CEO & Co-Founder of BetterMe

Thinking about the best way to make a product that meets the needs and desires of the people who need it the most, our female project team started by designing a process that put the users right at the centre.

Today, balance has received over 40,000 sign ups across 119 countries and we have a successful app that continues to grow.

balance user profile

Let’s go back to the beginning...

Our client, Dr Louise Newson, runs a successful menopause clinic and is one of the leading menopause specialists in her field so it’s safe to say she had a really good grasp of what was needed right from the start. It was her insight and knowledge that formed the foundations of our research and ideas.

Back in 2019 Louise had an Instagram following of around 40,000, which has now grown to over 80,000. Her Instagram presence combined with her significant Twitter following presented us with the perfect opportunity to reach out to our target audience and ask them about their perimenopausal and menopausal experiences. We built a survey and sent it out to her following to gather some initial insights which formed the basis of our discovery.

With a broader idea of what was missing from digital menopause care we set out on our primary research to gain a deeper understanding of our audience’s needs, frustrations and desires. One of the things that surprised us the most was that none of the mN team working on this project (all being under the age of 35) truly understood the impact of the menopause until we spoke to the people who had been through it. We found ourselves sharing some really raw and emotional moments with our participants — we laughed, we cried, we drank tea and ate lots of biscuits. This was the moment when we really felt the impact that our work could have on so many people across the world.

Armed with a passion and desire to help, we started to make things that helped us bring this initial vision to life — personas, journeys, user stories, storyboards, a brand name, a brand identity, a landing page, and finally, prototypes.

balance branding
balance branding

We knew we needed to thoroughly test our ideas to make sure they were right, so we decided to run remote usability testing by sending out weekly emails to the 5,000 people who had signed up to receive updates and help us shape the app. Whilst it was a big risk putting our work in progress out there for all to see, we knew that getting this early stage feedback would far outweigh any risks or threats. This was so invaluable to us as it meant we had our app tested over 1,000 times and optimised before we launched.

Once the final product was ready we followed up the remote testing with some in-depth usability testing (all done virtually — thanks, coronavirus!). We assigned participants a series of usability tasks and watched carefully to see if they had any issues or stumbling points. Overall, feedback was positive but there were a couple of changes we needed to make to ensure that our user experience was as seamless as possible. One of the biggest updates we made after the testing was to the “log” button — arguably one of the most important parts of the app. Several of our testers completely missed this CTA which would take them straight into their symptom journal, so we changed the navigation completely, making the “Journal” a consistent part of the primary navigation.

Where we're up to

Now, post-launch, we ensure that any changes we make are informed by our users, whether that’s through their direct feedback or sending surveys to test the appetite for new features. By always asking our users for their thoughts, ideas and feedback we’ve created an audience group that feels truly valued, and they know that their feedback really matters.

balance treatment reviews
balance treatment reviews

We believe that by creating products that are inspired, informed and designed by the people who are using them we can deliver truly unique experiences that meet the needs and expectations of each and every user. We continue to take pride in having created a brand environment where our users feel comfortable to share their thoughts and feelings, and of having a product team that’s always listening, learning and always determined to do better.

We’ll be continuing on the balance journey with Dr Louise Newson and her team, and we’re so excited to see what the future holds for this product.

balance – a menopause support app, available to download from the App Store and Google Play.

Katherine, Strategist at mN