Women who want to track their fertility, whether for pregnancy or natural birth control, can do so using any number of apps, but they’ll have to deal with one sad fact of female-oriented design: the inexplicable, infantilizing, unbearably stupid ubiquity of pink.
“Many of the mobile apps that I’ve seen out there look like what you’d get if fertility charting and Hello Kitty had a baby,” Amanda Kohler tells Co.Design. “Just because it’s a fertility app doesn’t mean it has to be cheesy, or even has to have a color palette of pinks, purples, and pictures of babies. Sometimes I wonder whether these apps are created by some techy guy that is trying to create what he thinks would appeal to women.” She points out that Fertility Friend, a popular fertility app, refers to sex as BD: Baby Dancing. Seriously. “When I first realized that’s what it meant I was totally turned off,” she says. “I think women can handle talking frankly about this stuff.”
So Kohler, a 24-year-old entrepreneur from Omaha, and her 29-year-old husband Kevin, set out to create the fertility app she’d want to use. For $36 a year, Ova Ova lets women log their monthly menstrual cycle on a browser-based interface, designed by GoodTwin Design, that converts daily fertility signs into easy-to-read bar graphs. It’s crisp, simple, and yes, virtually pink-free.
Here’s how it works: Each day, you plug in fertility indicators delineated by fertility awareness methods, such as cervical fluid and basal body temperature, in addition to sexual activity (which shows up on the graph as a refreshingly straightforward red heart icon). Ova Ova automatically identifies whether you should consider yourself fertile or infertile and adjusts the color of the bar so you can plan sexy time accordingly. Blue means infertile, green means fertile, and a bull’s-eye indicates the day you likely ovulated. “We’ve tried to make the charting easy enough for even guys to get involved,” Kohler says. “You can explain our charts to your significant other in about 5 seconds.” The app also includes a section for tracking diet and exercise.
The $36 price tag might seem a little steep at a time when other fertility apps can be snapped up for free. But Kohler reckons the design–and the peace of mind it affords–makes Ova Ova plenty worth the expense. As she tells it, existing apps rely too much on temperature-based line graphs, which are both difficult to read and misleading, because they suggest that temperature is the most important fertility indicator, when in fact it’s cervical fluid.
Then, of course, there’s the whole pink thing. “Also, when you compare the value of our product more broadly–for a birth control user (cost of birth control) and for a pregnancy seeker (cost of ovulation predictor kits)–fertility charting with Ova Ova is actually a much more reasonably priced option,” she says.
Try Ova Ova for 30 days free here.
[Top Image: sai0112/Shutterstock; Inline Images: Courtesy of Amanda Kohler]