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.