about the project
For many, menstrual pain is an unavoidable part of the period cycle. While there exists some options for recourse like pain-relieving medication and birth control, the most common “solution” to this problem is: deal with it.
Moonai proposes an alternate, innovative course of action against period pain with sound science.
Amanda Nguyen (Product Designer) Helena Rodemann Dios (Chief of Product), Laura-June Clarke (Chief of Business)
Founded in 2020, Moonai is developing the first mobile application designed to relieve period pain and improve body literacy with the science of sound. Through scientifically-engineered sound therapy and data insights, Moonai seeks to provide its users with transformative tools for period pain relief and increased body literacy.
I was brought onto the team in May of 2021. My primary objectives were to:
- Design the ideal user experience for Moonai's mobile application based on research and usability test findings
- Prepare Moonai's first product for handoff to development team by the end of August 2021
~84% of women want a solution to period pain that is non-clinical and non-intrusive
(according to 131 user interviews)
MVP prototype testing validated the core concept of Moonai's Sound feature: By having the user answer a period pain assessment, Moonai would give a personalized sound recommendation from its digital library. These sounds would be uniquely produced by Moonai's team of engineers and scientists to ensure its efficacy.
I conducted additional qualitative research by interviewing 10 participants to understand what kind of a product our users would want to see:
10/10 participants said their ideal resource for period pain relief would be in a mobile application
"[My ideal experience] would look like freedom to not plan so much & not put certain things on hold"
9/10 participants are skeptical of period-related information and solutions on the internet
Following user interviews, I worked closely with our Head of Product and Head of Business to discuss findings and determine what solutions we wanted to implement for this launch. I designed an iteration of Moonai that included new features in addition to the already-validated Sounds feature.
Users receive a personalized sound recommendation by completing an assessment on their current period pain and emotions.
Users view period patterns and trends based on their previous inputs in period assessments, and receive predictive sound recommendations.
Users can read originally written articles about the menstrual cycle as well as suggestions on how to relieve period symptoms.
After designing a functioning prototype, I wanted to gauge its usability and validate the new features. Following a research plan I developed, I conducted usability testing with five participants.
design refinement for handoff
An interactive before and after of the audio player, following changes made to sound model.
It was announced that rather than having individual sounds, Moonai would utilize AI software to create unique sound loops based on user feedback to further the personalized experience.
However, soon after making necessary design adjustments we learned that the AI would likely not adhere to the sound science necessary to provide period relief to users. Thus, we’d be reverting back to individually produced sounds.
It was in the process of updating designs for AI that I realized our Sounds feature was seeping into other corners of the product, making Moonai feel repetitive (a noted issue during prototype testing).
With the handoff date fast approaching, I consulted our business & engineering teams to decide what features could be tabled for future updates, while still maintaining user and business goals in mind for launch.
Users wanted to be informed of patterns and trends from their previous cycles, but needed a clear way to visualize it. Initial designs did not provide enough visual information, so I explored designs to better show this data in the Insights feature.
Explorations #1 and #2 had too many interactive components and could not provide full data without visual overload. I continued with Exploration #3, as this design gave users the most concise breakdown of data and provided the information users wanted to see in testing.
An improvement on the existing design, where users can view multiple variables of their assessment inputs
A heat map calendar, where users can see which cycle dates had more severe inputs for their period assessment
A polygonal diagram, where users can see level of severity in their period assessment variables sorted by date
Moonai's visual brand was inspired by a magician archetype: safe yet mystic, calming yet ethereal.
I opted for a dark UI pattern with bold purples. Throughout the exploration process for Moonai's visual design, I ensured we were meeting AAA accessibility standards.
To further convey Moonai's visual brand, another product designer and I created several original illustrations for our home screen as well as our audio player. I sought to create graphics that guided the user to primary CTAs without distracting from other content.
By completing a short assessment about their period, the user is given a personalized sound recommendation that specifically tailors to their inputted pain. These sounds alter the brain's state and mood, thereby relieving pain.
Along with pausing and stopping, users can set sleep timers and minimize their audio player for more convenience.
Users want a solution to their period pain that is non-intrusive and easy to access. A simple two-step assessment greatly shortens the effort needed to find pain relief.
Receive insight analysis on occurring trends across current and previous period cycles, along with data visualization on your previous period pain assessments.
To ensure accurate insight analysis on period cycles, you can review and edit your past active period dates.
Users want a solution that does the work for them. By providing the user with insight trends on past and current cycles, they can begin to increase body literacy and feel in control of their period.
Read up on articles that explain the science behind Moonai's Sound and Insights functionality.
Find additional articles about Moonai's process in developing solutions to period pain that are rooted in research and scientific review.
Providing resources for users to understand how Moonai works boosts trustability and reduces scientific skepticism, so they can feel more confident in Moonai as an effective alternative to period pain.
final thoughts and takeaways
Moonai met its official launch in 2022 with strong reception, garnering thousands of organic app downloads without paid advertisement or marketing. In anticipation of Moonai's release, I helped build plans to track data on engagement, customer satisfaction, retention, and conversion to measure the success of our first released iteration!
As my collaboration with Moonai was sunsetting, I worked with the product team to create onboarding materials for future designers. Official documentation of our design process, project roadmap, and brand identity will help welcome new members to the team seamlessly and easily.
There were times during this project where I realized I had been ignoring a certain business or user need. In the volatile world of start-ups, it’s imperative to consider both when creating designs to enable your highest chances of success. Through requesting continuous input and feedback from our product, business, and engineering teams, I've found that a successful product lies in the sweet spot between user and business needs.
I thoroughly enjoyed the teams I worked with! By understanding each other and growing a genuine relationship beyond transactional trade-offs, we indirectly developed a method that worked within the madness of the start-up world. A combination of twice-weekly sync-ups, diligent task management across the board, and a strong line of communication across three different timezones gave us the team synergy we needed to meet our goals!