Fast Company - - Innovation By Design - —AS TOLD TO MEG MILLER

Just be­fore Planned Par­ent­hood be­gan cel­e­brat­ing its 100th birth­day in Oc­to­ber last year, the or­ga­ni­za­tion cre­ated its first dig­i­tal prod­uct. Spot On is a free pe­riod- and birth-con­trol-track­ing app that’s been down­loaded more than 1 mil­lion times since its de­but in March 2016. Dig­i­tal prod­uct lab se­nior di­rec­tor Jenny Friedler ex­plains how the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s work at its clin­ics, vis­ited by 2.4 mil­lion peo­ple in the U.S. an­nu­ally, helped dif­fer­en­ti­ate the app from its com­peti­tors.

We’re the most trusted sex­ual and re­pro­duc­tive health­care provider in the coun­try, and we’ve heard ev­ery ques­tion in the book. Most [track­ing apps] fo­cus on fer­til­ity and peo­ple try­ing to get preg­nant. In the mean­time, the av­er­age wo­man will spend about 30 years of her life try­ing not to get preg­nant. We wanted to re­flect to peo­ple the re­al­ity of what was go­ing on with their cy­cle.

If you are on the pill, ev­ery day it will ask you if you took your pill. In our re­views, the sin­gle most im­pact­ful piece of praise is “I haven’t missed my pill once since I down­loaded this app.”

Planned Par­ent­hood is known for pro­vid­ing non­judg­men­tal, per­son­al­ized care. We wanted to make sure the de­sign—the copy, the emo­jis—had the feel­ing of, “We are here for you.” We wanted the app to be us­able for peo­ple re­gard­less of their sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion or gen­der iden­tity; peo­ple love that it’s not pink. What sur­prised us was that push­ing to­ward gen­der neu­tral­ity would be ap­pre­ci­ated by ev­ery user. Re­gard­less of how peo­ple iden­tify, they just want to be treated as peo­ple whose choices are re­spected.

“We wanted to make sure the de­sign—the copy, the emo­jis— had the feel­ing of, ‘We are here for you,’” says Planned Par­ent­hood’s Friedler.

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