Bedsider: a service for stopping unplanned pregnancy
If you are a woman, probably at some point in your life you’ve being exposed to an array of contraceptives pamphlets depicting happy women among a lot of technicalities on the product being reviewed. I know from my experience that this kind of communication is not really effective, it doesn’t get across the importance of using a contraceptive method, and it doesn’t help you to take an informed decision on the best method for you.
At the private non-profit National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy in the United States, they understood this, realizing that sex related information is at best out of touch if not non-existent, and partnered up with IDEO to create a service for delivering knowledge of contraception methods in a more appropriated way.
Together they created Bedsider, an online birth control support network that helps women find the birth control that’s right for them and to learn how to use it consistently and effectively. There are two key design drivers that make this service stand up.
First, they wanted to create a solution that would speak to women on their own terms, giving them the appropriate platform to talk about their own experiences in using different contraceptive methods. This lead to a communication style that resembles more to having your best friend giving you advice and answering your questions, than having to sit through sex ed trying to digest a lot of impersonal information.
One of the highlights of this approach is the method explorer, an easy to use tool for selecting the contraception method that suits you the most, allowing you to explore the methods according to either your goal for using them, with categories like most effective or STI prevention, or by the lifestyle that suits you the most, like party ready or do me now. From the explorer you can go on to browse the content on the different methods, having testimonies of other women and men that have being using this methods.
The second driver responds to the fact that even though women might now about the importance of sticking to a method, they find it hard to follow the schedule thus putting in risk the efficacy of the contraception method. Starting from this point they decide to try and make women pass from a prescription approach to a subscription one.
This change of approach is best embodied in the reminders service, a SMS based service that allows women to schedule reminders for their birth control, according to the chosen birth control method the type and frequency of the SMS will vary, with the focus of getting them to stick to the appropriated schedule for their birth control method. Similarly, women can schedule reminders for the important appointments related to their sex health.
One of the most positive changes this service brings about is the change in communication, stepping away from the idea that either sex or babies are bad, and embracing the idea that, sex is fun and “babies are great, when you’re ready for them”, and framing the decision of taking or not birth control in relations with what kind of experiences you want to live and in which moment of your life.
To know more about Bedsider click here