“The combination of hardcore functionality with a joyful presentation makes this application feel deeply human.” —juror Nathan Moody
“The tone doesn’t make assumptions about why the user wants to track her period or birth control. Instead, the app offers playful ways to personalize data, moods and activities. There were lots of clever details, like the calendar scrubber that predicts cycles.” —juror Libby Bawcombe
Overview: Women of the world, meet the Spot On app. Powered by the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, this birth control and period tracker features simple interfaces like the Health Diary, which turns an otherwise mundane task—recording one’s periods and all the symptoms, moods and activities that come with it—into a delightful experience, thanks to emojis, physics and bubbles. The app also provides gentle birth control and period reminders, along with insights from Planned Parenthood experts. By using the app consistently, women can better understand what affects their menstrual cycles and how their cycles affect their bodies. And that’s a beautiful thing. Period.
•The app utilizes 48 illustrations, 17 animations, 36 icons, 39 emojis, 12 day-view templates and 193 total day-view insights/prompts.
•Small Planet Digital developed the project with Planned Parenthood’s Digital Product Lab.
•Development started in May 2015, and the first version of Spot On for iOS was released in March 2016.
Comments by Fred Lee and Joana Lehman:
Did you meet with any out-of-the-ordinary obstacles during development? “Effectively making several apps—one for each method of birth control that was represented at launch as well as an option for no method—and ending up with an app that has more possible states than there are atoms in the universe. We calculated this! Making a complicated app that is simple to use means shifting a lot of complexity toward development. In particular, handling when the user doesn’t know the answer to a question places a lot of burden on the app’s logic.”
What was the thinking behind the navigation structure? “If users haven’t used the app for four days, we can’t assume they missed their birth control methods—maybe they just haven’t checked in or maybe they lost their phones! A system we lovingly call AUNTi—your trusted, all-knowing artificial intelligence auntie—helps sort out the context and knows to ask the user only relevant questions. So we know to ask if users are keeping up with their pills only within the context that it’s today, the user is on the pill and she hasn’t taken it yet.”
Describe any special interactive features. “The day view randomly selects a health, birth control or period insight in a scaling template depending on a user’s inputs for that day. And it’s not a feature per se, but the app also has a dinosaur mascot named Cycleosaurus! Who needs heavily gendered butterflies and flowers when you can have a dinosaur?”