An ongoing data-driven research project on 
menstruation and diabetes
Project Role: 
Project Founder, Design Research Lead, Creative Direction and
Design of all corresponding media, consistent with Tidepool's Brand Guidelines

(Generous consulting support from the Tidepool team)
01 The Challenge: Understanding Diabetes & Menstruation
The Period Project is an ongoing collection of design research initiatives created to better understand the themes, trends, behaviors and frustrations that people with diabetes experience as a result of menstruation. 
While 50% of the population manages a period with Type 1 diabetes, this topic is severely under-discussed in clinical settings, medical technology design and research.
As part of this initiative, I am designing and leading a team of data scientists, customer support and marketing professionals. The team will be looking at this data to analyze and explore things like blood glucose trends, changes in treatment patterns, and visualization options, among other design opportunities.
“I talked to my mom, mostly. She is a woman and had a period for a long time, but she had never managed it with diabetes, so she didn’t really know what she was doing any better than I did.”
                                                                                                                   - Anonymous Interviewee

The Period Project: Process Overview

“I use a monster icon on my override. It’s tongue in cheek. I see myself as a monster. I’m this moody bitch, with a period, but it also encapsulates how I feel about having high blood sugars. This is the monster.”
                                                                                                                   - Anonymous Interviewee
02 The Process: Broad Areas of Interest
Understanding the tools we can offer to clinicians and patients to better support their needs when it comes to hormonal changes like menstruation & puberty.
For Clinicians:
+ Understanding the triggers that lead clinicians to bring up period management with patients
+ Aspirational and current recommended processes for helping patients manage their blood sugars around their periods
+ Understanding issues clinicians have around accessing or understanding the full picture of menstruation’s effects on patients. Some examples might be: Technical (patients don’t label or report data) Emotional (sensitive topic patients don’t want to discuss), Temporal (downloaded data only shows 2 week periods, not monthly cycle)
For Persons with Diabetes:
+ Pain points around using multiple tracking technologies (period tracking and diabetes software / hardware)
+ DIY techniques or strategies women use to make this experience easier for themselves
+ Personal patterns of note discovered around blood sugars before, during and after menstruation

+ Relationship with clinician around understanding diabetes management and menstruation 
+ Scenario Creation: What fantasy technologies or systems would patient's craft if there were no technology limitations? 
+ Moments during a patient's cycle that they make note of or track

03 Period Project Impact
This is an on-going, multi-phased initiative, but the immediate impact is overwhelming and emotional: raising awareness and openly acknowledging the need and commitment to do better in research and design around women's health and diabetes. This builds community and sets a precedent for other diabetes and healthcare services to follow. 
Other impacts:

1. The identification of common themes around blood sugar changes, hypoglycemia and periods to inform new algorithm models for diabetes software.  
2. Inform design and product roadmaps both in the Tidepool app and web platforms that help support both Persons with Diabetes and Clinicians to improve period management.    
Note: Protecting participant privacy is crucial as part of this initiative. If you're interested in learning more about this process or seeing prototypes, please reach out directly.

Stay up-to-date on this initiative on: Tidepool's blog or on Tidepool's Instagram 

You may also like

Back to Top