Contraceptive UX: Designing for the user experience of birth control

“Design for Healthcare” is a big arena encompassing a diverse set of challenges. In our initial conversations with designers and healthcare natives, one area of focus emerged as demanding our attention— Contraceptive UX. This topic may initially seem surprising as a Prescribe Design focal point, but the more we think about it, we see this as a critical conversation that is missing in the field: the user experience of birth control.

Contraceptives haven’t changed much in the last 50 years. The technology may have shifted and the hormone levels have been tweaked, but the core aspects and power dynamics of how we use them have remained a remnant from the past. Our goal in starting the Contraceptive UX initiative is to bring some much needed light to this topic. How might we design the experience around birth control methods that both increase their desirability and their effectiveness? How can contraceptives be user-friendly?

Our first step is a survey that focuses on the dimensions of birth control that are often overlooked—how we use them. Consider this a conversation on contraception that is long overdue.

Introducing our survey: Birth Control: Your Method, Your Desire

Recent research has shown that there is a disconnect between clinicians and female patients when discussing birth control methods. NPR found that patients are more concerned with how a method works and its side effects than providers. A cross-sectional survey (n=2590) featured in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that factors such as effectiveness, safety, and whether the method is easily forgettable ranked highly. Our Contraceptive UX team is interested in amplifying the patient’s concerns, and we’re eager to get the conversation started.

Consider this the customer satisfaction survey for contraception that you’ve (probably) never been sent. We want to know what motivated your contraceptive method choice? If you could re-design your method, what would you change about it? If you have ever used a contraceptive method please help us start the Contraceptives UX dialogue with our 5-minute survey and please share the link with your friends and family.

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Thanks to the Contraceptive UX project team:

Nina Pine employs human-centred design to increase health equity globally. She is completing her MSc at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, working on her research in trans* healthcare, and obsessing over french bulldogs.
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Ruth Ann Crystal, MD is a board certified Ob/Gyn physician on the ACF at Stanford who is passionate about improving healthcare with human centered design.
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Ben Peterson is a designer, researcher and educator who is passionate about improving access to health services and information through design.

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