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Period Talk… Not Balk!

UX Design | UI Design

My Role:

Product Strategy, UX researcher, UX Designer and Product Designer, User Tester


12 Weeks


Axure RP, Miro board, InDesign, Google Forms, Microsoft Excel, Photoshop, Illustrator, Adobe Stock Images.

Project Overview

Period Talk…Not Period Balk! is a conceptual multi-channel UX & UI application that provides support, advice, awareness and education on menstruation in a comfortable environment to help end PERIOD POVERTY. Period Talk…Not Period Balk! was developed over 12 weeks as an assessment project.

This conceptual project received a High Distinction (HD).

Design Approach

This design process was chosen to solve this problem by creating innovative solutions by questioning assumptions, developing prototypes and testing them to understand users, challenge assumptions, and redefine problems.

1 - Research

1 - Research

  • User Research
  • Topic Research
  • Competitor analysis
  • Persona creation


  • User Stories
  • Customer Journey Mapping
  • Empathy Mapping
  • Hypotheses


  • Initial brainstorming ideas
  • Open Card sorting
  • Do Go Mapping
  • Tree Jack
  • User Task Flows
  • Information Architecture
  • Site Map


  • Low Fidelity Wireframe
  • Medium Fidelity Wireframe
  • High Fidelity Prototype
  • Visual Design Layout
5 - TEST

5 - TEST

  • Usability Testing
  • SUS Score Survey
  • Update Recommendations

Menstruation occurs every month for millions of women worldwide, with many women being disadvantaged in accessing essential sanitary items, safe and convenient facilities or primary education. However, as menstruation is personal, a negative stigma surrounds the subject. 

As a result, many women have had to improvise on their sanitary items, can not attend school or work due to their periods, or lack education regarding periods which causes many women to have medical issues. Unfortunately, the problem doesn’t get better with the stigma surrounding menstruation. Many believe the subject should be discussed but feel like they can’t because society thinks it is dirty, disgusting, and private. 

The Solution

Period Talk…Not BALK! is a conceptual multi-channel application covering many aspects of Period Poverty. The application runs over Desktop, Tablet and Mobile devices. It allows the user to access sanitary items or donate to the cause, give or receive advice and medical education on periods, track their menstrual cycle and symptoms or find a medical professional in their local area.


Women would like one app to help them understand their menstrual cycle by sharing or watching videos, podcasts or articles, reading tips and facts about periods and creating social “period” events to promote “period talk.” Women would also like an app to track their periods using the free tracking app.

User Research

Research Approach (Quantitative Data research)

A survey was created using Google Forms and asked personal and impersonal questions to gain insight into the attitudes, behaviours, and goals towards periods, period poverty, and how women purchase consumables. This survey showed us how a small group of 20 people react to periods. 

With most participants in the survey were women. Most users rated themselves comfortable discussing their periods openly but acknowledged that society considered this uncomfortable and disgusting. Once the survey was closed, all data was collected and collated in google and supplied in various pie charts or bar graphs indicating the percentage of participants’ answers. 

Survey questions ranged from personal questions like has the participant ever had to improvise on a sanitary item? To more generic questions like did the participant know what Period Poverty is? 

  1. Many people feel uncomfortable discussing their menstrual cycle in public:  FALSE.
    Many younger women are more comfortable discussing their menstrual cycle with others openly in this day and age. 

  2. Users feel the price of Sanitary Items is too high: TRUE.
    Particularly for those who suffer through heavy, irregular periods and need to purchase more sanitary items or those who suffer from Domestic & Family violence or certain social standings like homelessness. 

  3. Users find it difficult to research period issues online: FALSE.
    Many users found that it was pretty easy to research period-related problems. However, they found that the search results can be particularly frustrating as quite a few are not associated with the issue, or there are too many results.

  4. Users often want to know if the symptoms they are experiencing are normal: TRUE
    Most users usually ask their friends or family members if they are experiencing something irregular. However, many women might not have access to talking to others. 

  5. Users don’t track their menstrual cycle using an app or diary: FASLE.
    Many users track their period using a period tracking application on their smartphones linked to a smartwatch or use their contraception pill. 

Key Findings

After researching “Period Poverty” online, it was discovered to be a significant problem worldwide. After researching various online competitor’s websites and reading many research reports and statistics, there are three main areas where Period Poverty affects women worldwide.

The Cost

Sanitary products are becoming costly even for Western civilisation. However, through the research, some countries like ours are beginning to “Ban the Sanitary Tax.” Also, many other items come into play during the menstrual cycle, like heat packs, pain medication, the contraception pill, medical bills, and much more.

The Stigma

Yes, periods are a personal problem for women; however, women can’t just turn them off. Many countries worldwide where women are considered dirty and disgusting while menstruating. This can cause many significant health issues, not just mental but also emotional, affecting their lives by making them skip school or work.

Education & Awareness

Many girls worldwide, particularly in India, skip school due to their periods, affecting their education. Not just their overall education, but essential education on their periods, how to help control or suppress some symptoms, and the importance of sanitary items. Education is a crucial factor as even though every period is different, just like every person is different, many symptoms or issues are being overlooked or ignored as they feel they are expected when they could be an issue.

Some key user issues that came about were:

  1. Users tend to use a tracking app to track their cycles. However, they don’t always remember to log their current period.
  2. Users tend to search on google for any period-related issues and sometimes get overwhelmed by the number of results. 
  3. Many users feel comfortable discussing their menstrual cycle but deem society is against it. 


Survey results were highlighted and then documented in ‘Miro’. An affinity map was created to help compile the data into user patterns and understandings surrounding their periods. The information was then segmented into attitudes, behaviours and demographical details to create three user personas. The three personas are:

Motherly Mary

Motherly Mary’s are mothers in their late 30s who are there to help their children through some tough times. They organise doctor’s appointments.

Lora Lane

Lora Lanes are females in their early 30s with no children who are confident talking about their periods.

Social Sasha

Social Sasha’s are females in their 20s who love socialising. They don’t let their periods stop them. 

Product Outcomes

Using the findings compiled from the research, Period Talk’s application must do the following:

  1. Enable users to search for a period related issues and receive reliable results
  2. Enable users to access factual period information.
  3. Enable users to save fact sheets in various ways to allow later readings. 
  4. Enable users to log their period cycles using their Mobile devices and view their cycle logs on their desktop. 
  5. Enable users to jump from mobile to desktop and vice versa when interacting with a video, podcast or game. 
Journey and Empathy Map

A user journey map was created for each persona to highlight the user’s pain and delight points and determine prospects for Period Talk…Not BALK! to manage. Additionally, each map highlights the users’ empathy feelings before, during, and after each user journey.

Motherly Mary


Lora Lane


Social Sasha


Information Architecture

Card Sorting

The data compiled in our dendrograms show how users group the content. As there were limitations that stopped compiling enough data to support an actual result, the “Best Merge” method was used for analysis.
The results from the Best Merge dendrogram show the main categories to which the users would associate each task. Each class was grouped into four main categories.

  • Account 
  • About Us 
  • Donate 
  • Advice & Information
Actual Agreement Method – Dendrogram
Best Merge Method – Dendrogram
Best Merge Method - Dendrogram

Best Merge Method - Dendrogram

Tree Jacks

Ten users participated in a small tree jack exercise outlining from the earlier card sorting two scenarios where they had to find the final page of information. Thus, the results determined if the initial navigation hierarchy was too tricky for the users to navigate. The first task was 100% successful with all the tree jack exercise recruits, but some participants had difficulty navigating to the final destination during task two.

Task 1

Screen Shot 2022-06-11 at 4.22.11 pm
Screen Shot 2022-06-11 at 4.23.03 pm

Task 2

Screen Shot 2022-06-11 at 4.22.23 pm
Screen Shot 2022-06-11 at 4.23.29 pm
Do Go Mapping

Do-Go Mapping was used to help understand what information could go on each page and how each page linked to the other. Over 21 cards were created to develop the comprehensive mapping of the site. This was then overlooked by another student who inputted any ideas or actions they felt would work well within the application.


The creation of the website’s sitemap is used as a guide to indicate the navigational hierarchy of pages within the website.


Initially, three low-fidelity wireframes were created for each platform view. These translate a potential look and feel for the vital structure of the application.

User Task Hypotheses and Tasks

Multiple hypotheses were created from the information collected during the research stage. By finding the insights from the research, the needs the user is after, and how might we help the user, a hypothesis for each insight was created. 

A task or multiple tasks were developed using the hypotheses. These tasks became the basis of the prototype development. The tasks were designed for the user to use either a desktop computer or a mobile phone. 

Task-Based UserFlows

A user flow was developed for each task to showcase the possible paths a user could take to get to the final screen. In addition, each flow indicates the happy and unhappy paths the user could take.


Axure RP was used to produce the critical components found in the user research and hypotheses. Then, these components were formed into different screens to develop a monotoned Mid-High Fidelity prototype. The approach was to create a Mid-High Fidelity prototype to accumulate user feedback regarding the prototype’s functionality from user testing.

A monotoned Mid-High Fidelity prototype was used to allow the user to supply valuable feedback regarding the functionality and overall feel of the application without distracting colours, animation or coloured images.

Using Axure to create the application’s elements and key components made the prototype easier for user testing as Axure allows easy transition between the multi-channel screen sizes. In addition, the user could interact with the prototype like a standard website or application, inputting information where needed.

Initial Prototype

A walk-through of the initial prototype developed in Axure can be viewed in the video. Recommended updates will be applied in future iterations.

User testing and feedback

The usability testing program began by compiling an action usability script for in-person and online zoom testing sessions. Next, five participants who best resembled one of the personas identified during the research stage were recruited to participate as user testers. These users had never seen the site or knew about its construction, allowing each to give unbiased and viable feedback. As each user completed these tasks, their activity was recorded for analysis and observation.

Overall there were no significant issues or errors that users came upon. However, even with a successful task pass rate of 82.5%, the site has some areas for improvement as a few users failed or got confused when completing tasks.
Even though the failure rate is low, a few users failed on the same task, outlining an issue in comprehension of the site’s hierarchy or the task supplied to them. These failures and confusion will be looked at and revised.


Usability Testing was performed to validate each hypothesis and if the initial research’s main vital points were successful or if the prototype needed to be altered. 

No major issues arose through the testing sessions. However, there were a few minor issues that some users found to be annoying. However, these issues didn’t stop them from trying to complete the tasks the best they could. These minor issues consisted of:

  • Navigational Labelling – A few users struggled to find the correct paths to take when completing specific tasks like finding information on Painful Periods
  • Search bar – At one point during the testing, all users stated they would use a search bar to find specific information.
  • Icon Recognition – One user had difficulty finding the save icons. 
  • Visual Hierarchy- Some users found it challenging to find specific information on some pages.

Some users offered great feedback and comments on what to expect, where and why. This gave a great insight into how the site worked. To improve Period Talk…Not BALK! ‘s usability and success, areas of recommendation include:

  • Hierarchy Layout – Moving a few internal pages around in the site’s navigation might help users find information better. A/B Testing required
  • Add Colour – Adding emotive colours to the site would allow users to understand the brand and subject better. A/B Testing required
  • Hierarchy Layout – Moving the hierarchy around on the Track your Cycle page and re-testing users to validate if the new hierarchy system works better for users to spot the “Add Your Period” link. A/B Testing required
  • Search Function – Optimising the search function to make it easier for users to search for facts, games, articles and stories. A/B Testing required


Hypotheses Validation

Overall a hypothesis validation rate of 67.5% is a great result and showcases much more room for improvement. This result showed that the users thought differently about each task and how the theories and hypotheses were first considered. Some tasks had a better validation rate compared to others. Even though some tasks had a high pass rate, the validation of the hypothesis might have been relatively low. This shows that the users had different thought processes for completing a task.

SUS Scores

After each participant had completed each task asked for them to test, they were asked to complete a quick 10-question survey conveying a SUS score out of 100. Having each user complete a SUS survey at the end of each testing session allowed the user to score the application overall. All scores were relatively high, meaning they thought the application was easy to use and comprehend.

Once all the scores were compiled, the score was averaged, supplying an overall System Usability Scale score. The average score of the application is 86. This score is valued in the acceptable range. However, it allows room for improvements and fine-tuning.

Annotated Wireframes

Annotated Wireframes were developed for the active screens within the prototype for each platform the application would feature on to prepare for a developer handover.

App Mockup
Key Learnings

By embarking on this 12-week solo project, some key learnings I have accumulated are:

  • Open and Closed Card Sorting is a fantastic way to help determine the navigational layout and hierarchy with the users in mind. These card sorts allow the users to interact with the product early on and allow more extensive research into how users respond to phrases or sort specific information into categories.  
  • A Tree Jack exercise is a superb way to determine how a user will interact with an application’s navigation. Using the results from a Card sort, a navigation map can be created and used to reveal if the navigation is challenging for a user to navigate. 
  • The importance to exclude designers and developers from your usability testing to get accurate results. Using designers and developers to complete user testing can skew the data results as most will talk about points that need to be addressed in more detail than a user would. A usability test conducted with those whose professions are not in design or technological developers would produce better user results. 
  • The importance of excluding family and friends who know what you are doing or who you are. These responses will provoke biased results as family and friends feel the need to say what you want them to say and won’t address typical user issues. 
  • Working for Multi-channel applications showcases the different needs of each platform. Understanding that a mobile device may not be able to show all the same data as a desktop or that the mobile version will be entirely different from its desktop partner is an integral part of UX/UI design. Most users in the research and testing stated they mainly use their phones.