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Salla Tanskanen 2018

Salla Tanskanen 2018 Product Design Glasgow School of Art

Self Initiated Project Sharing Responsibility of Contraception

" Tell me what drives you crazy?"


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All of the participants Anja Pauline Ottla Mollie Oonagh Kirsty

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Self Initiated

Thank you


Contraception basics ....................................................... 8-9 Initial desk research ........................................................ 10-11 Interview plan ................................................................... 12-13 Speaking to users ............................................................ 14-17 Personas ............................................................................ 18-25 Speaking to professionals ......................................... 26-27 Encouraging discussion ............................................. 28-29 Collating data ................................................................. 30-35 Take aways ....................................................................... 36-37 Generating empathy .................................................... 38-39 Initial concepts ............................................................... 40-41 Test models ..................................................................... 42-47

Storyboard ....................................................................... 50-52 Visual iteration ................................................................ 54-61 Final model ...................................................................... 62-73 Reflection ......................................................................... 74-75

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Final concepts ................................................................ 48-49

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SHARING RESPONSIBILITY OF CONTRACEPTION

Self Initiated

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Not getting pregnant together ....................................... 6-7


NOT GETTING PREGNANT TOGETHER

For the sake of brevity I will concentrate on birth-control especially, not so much the prevention of STI’s or STD’s. Also I will be looking at heterosexual couples in their 20’s, as statistically this is the demographic that uses contraception the most, and is an age people are usually not looking to have babies. To stay rather concise, I will not discuss much the details of social, religious or economical status affecting peoples’ decisions or perceptions.

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For this project I wanted to explore the way how, especially heterosexual mono-amorous, relationships share the responsibility of contraception. The motivation to look at this came from the notion that it seems to often be a very female issue to take care of. This is understandable as women are the ones who get pregnant and thus also have much more choice when it comes to birth-control. However, if it is a shared goal to not have babies the responsibility should be also on both partners.

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Sharing responsibility of birth-control in relationships


METHODS FOR MEN

98%

99%

CONTRACEPTION BASICS

Female condom

92-96%

95%

EFFECTIVENESS

Female sterilisation

99%

Natural family planning

Copper coil

Patch

Combined pill

Injection

Mini pill

Implant

Hormonal coil

99%

Vaginal ring

Women are offered much more options within contraception. Over half of the methods are hormonal, which means that they use synthetic female hormones to prevent the woman from being able to get pregnant. Using these kind of hormones also have side effects, from which some can be useful for treating heavy periods, PMS or even acne. But they also have effects that are rather negative which can vary from minor things like weight gain and mood swings to even blood clots or depression. These physical and mental effects also may contribute to the division of responsibility.

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Diaphragm & cap

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NON-HORMONAL METHODS FOR WOMEN

Vasectomy

What are we looking at

HORMONAL METHODS FOR WOMEN

Self Initiated

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Male condom


I wanted to look at how discussion and processing of awkward or intimate things has been answered to by design.

There were some projects aiming for accessible contraceptives for women.

In addition to better hormonal contraceptive methods being developed for women, there seems to also be a rising notion of the issues that it induces. Thus there is a trend of hormonal methods for men being tested as well.

There are many various digital or technological products or services for cycle tracking and periods.

INITIAL DESK RESEARCH Using STEP cards to organise research

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Despite some innovative design within contraception, there didn’t seem to be much discussing the aspect of talking about it within couples.

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From doing desk research on the current scene of design within sexual health and contraception, I found out that it was concentrating largely on accessibility to birthcontrol or technological approach to cycle and period tracking.


S Part of where people might learn about contraception and attitudes towards it in the first place

SCHOOL

P OU C E

GP CLINICS

Support & understanding, the side-effects affect men as well

LE

The goal of not getting pregnant should be shared

When using hormonal contraception women might sometimes suffer from physical or mental side effects

Hormonal contraception is probably usually taken care of mostly by women

Usually women go to the GP or other similar authority to speak about contraception and to get hold of it

WOMAN

Professionals might only have limited allocated time to talk about options

Self Initiated

Who to speak to and what about Before going into the phase of ethnographic research I wanted to make a map of all the relationships and issues the couple might have. This was to find out what were the very essential things I wanted to find out and who else I might want to talk to in addition to the couple.

THE INTERNET

FRIENDS

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INTERVIEW PLAN

A majority of people might rely on information online to make their desicion on the method of birth control

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PARENTS

MAN

Friends might affect the method of contraception the couple uses, by sharing information and opinions

PROFESSIONALS

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IN

S ER D SI

TH

TH E

OU E TH

ER D I TS


SPEAKING TO USERS Interviewing couples and individuals I wanted to find out what form of contraception the participants used and how they or one of them decided on the particular one. This was also meant to tell about the division of responsibility within the relationship. Whether the people were happy or disappointed with certain aspects of their chosen contraception I was hoping to reveal more about the relationship they have to birth-control.

How did you decide on the method of contraception that you use? Was it a mutual decision? Did you consider other ones?

How often do you talk about contraception?

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How is the responsibility for contraception shared in your relationship?

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What are the good sides to the method you use? Are there any frustrating sides to it?


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a

er

Em

Gi ng

An IMPLANT & THE PILL

HORMONAL COIL

Ch

Using a non-hormonal contraceptive method Using a hormonal contraceptive method Not using contraception currently

All names have been changed

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THE PILL

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SINGLE

PREVIOUSLY CONDOMS

IN A RELATIONSHIP WITH A WOMAN

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Who did I speak to The demographic that I was able to interview was mostly people in their 20’s, which is also the demographic that uses contraception the most. The division of non-hormonal (mostly condoms) and hormonal (mostly the pill) is roughly half and half, which was also the case within my participants. There were also a couple interviewees who had previously used hormonal methods, but decided to change to for example condoms.

Sing

loe

THE PILL

TRACKING CYCLE & CONDOMS

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ive Ol

Lil

IN A RELATIONSHIP WITH A MAN

HORMONAL COIL

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THE PILL

CONDOMS, PREVIOUSLY COPPER COIL & THE PILL

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Ch ris

Ja m

IN A RELATIONSHIP WITH A WOMAN

CONDOMS

IN A RELATIONSHIP WITH MULTIPLE MEN

TRACKING CYCLE & CONDOMS

es

TRACKING CYCLE & CONDOMS

Ell a

Tim

Ro ss

All an CONDOMS, PREVIOUSLY COPPER COIL & THE PILL


PERSONAS

“Because I went through loads of different methods, I felt like I had all the responsibility to do all of that. Now it’s kind of little bit reverse, it’s his responsibility to buy them. Even though I don’t actively make it that way, I feel like it just ends up being that way.” — Ginger

The participants in brief Based on the interviews I created three persona relationships, that represent the different kind of couples and individuals spoke to.

“[Using condoms] was his suggestions right in the beginning of the relationship, and I was very very happily surprised that he even suggested this. I’ve heard from friends and from previous experience that guys are not very happy using this kind of contraception; they’d rather not use any contraception.” — Emma

“It’s basically my responsibility. – I’m not saying it’s a bad thing” — Ross “It is, it’s kind of an awkward moment for me to go to the shop and buy the condoms.” — Emma “I wouldn’t want Emma to have any of these methods that she finds invasive – I wouldn’t want you to have to do that when I can use something that really is minimal effort and disruption.” — Ross

Couple #1

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“It’s heavily my side at the moment. I don’t know if that’s sort of a cultural thing, that the man has to buy the condoms. She says that she’s more than willing to purchase them — I think there’s a sense of embarrassment purchasing them over the counter.” — Allan

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We don’t want to use hormonal contraception, so we use mostly condoms


“He usually doesn’t have an opinion on [contraception] to be honest.” — Lily ”For the first few months [of using the pill] I remember feeling like a little bit more emotional – I’d feel like a dip in my mood.” — Lily

“I think I would want to share [the responsibility for contraception] with my boyfriend. I’m not sure how you would do that. I think it would make the whole thing a little bit less stressful, there’s no such thing as perfect contraceptive method.” — Olive

“It wasn’t really a conversation. He’s very much like, well it’s your body so choose what you want to do. That’s why I didn’t really tell him that I was going to get it, I just got it.” — Lily

”In heterosexual relationships it is left to the woman, but quite a lot of time that just because it hasn’t been talked about with men. I think it’s better that they understand the problems and what’s going on.

Self Initiated

“Not really just my boyfriend, but a lot of men don’t really have an insight on the responsibility. The pill or any kind of contraception like that changes you hormonally and physically, and you don’t want to be on it forever. It’s kind of unnatural, you’re forcing your body to go out of its natural routine.” — Lily

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“At the moment [responsibility] is all really mine, not through neglect on my boyfriend’s part. It’s my body isn’t it, so I’m the one who feels the positives and the negatives to it.” — Olive

“I think it was really my decision [taking the hormonal implant]. He’s always very supportive. He obviously prefers that I’m on hormonal contraception, because then we don’t have to use the

My boyfriend is quite happy to talk about it, but no one just hasn’t talked about it to him before.” — Olive “[I would want my boyfriend to know that] whatever you choose it’s a trade off. With hormonal contraception there’s always the trade of what I would and wouldn’t want to happen to me. With the pill is sort of mood, perhaps weight gain. The implant is the bleeding and the operations, having to go in and get appointments. No matter what you choose there’s always a negative to it. It’s never simple.” — Olive

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I decided to start using the pill, and didn’t really think I needed to tell my boyfriend

condom. It was my choice to reduce the risk of pregnancy and just to cover more basis.” — Olive

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Couple #2


Couple #3 I have a hormonal coil that sometimes gives me quite a hard time, but he supports me the best he can ”[Birth-control] is my responsibility now mostly, although Chris would want to have a role in it as well.” — Ana

“I find it really frustrating – trying loads of different contraception is not that much of a pain, but it was really difficult to me; there were different things in my body happening that I didn’t know how to cope with and that’s so difficult for a guy to understand. The only thing that they can ever really use is the condom and that’s never really going to change anything for them.” — Ginger

“Even just understanding the side effects, or even the methods of contraception that there are [would be good.]” — Ginger “I’m not sure if telling someone is necessarily enough to get them to understand.” — Olive

“Obviously I talked to my boyfriend about it, but there’s only so much – he doesn’t really know anything about it apart from that there’s these things, but he doesn’t know what any of them are.” — Ginger

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“She has a lot more duty on it, just because she needs to get her pill on time. Again she’s the one who slightly gets the hormonal change because of the drug. Where I kind of feel like, yes, I’m on spot asking her what’s going on, I understand what’s going on. But she still has that extra duty, she’s mostly dealing with the problem by herself. I get to enjoy the positive sides, not that I don’t feel sympathy or cannot relate to her in that sense.” — James

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”Before she met me she used the pill, which I believe she had bad hormonal reactions to; making her quite grumpy. It’s not fair for me to put her through that.” — Allan


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“My boyfriend just would’ve felt sad when things weren’t going well for me, but I don’t think he would’ve had any other emotions.” — Olive

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Self Initiated

During the interviews I also wanted to have a small task to do with the participants, to express their feelings towards the methods they had used. I asked them to create time lines of their relationships with the birth-control they had used during it and the feelings connected to each of them.

“That’s the synthesis between cheekiness and craziness, it’s the happiness.” — Ross

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Relationships time lines

“In each point of the month there’d be a sort of window of three or four days. You just get more kind of pissed off and stressed.” — Lily


Pauline McGough

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To understand the side of the clinicians, I spoke to Anja Guttinger and Pauline McGough, two professionals within sexual and reproductive health. They gave me an insight on the more clinical and medical side of things, but also provided a more in depth insight into how incredibly broad sexuality is.

”What we don’t probably talk about a whole bunch, is how to negotiate relationships within a fairly healthy dynamic.”

Consultant Gynaecologist, specialised in sexual and reproductive health, Ayrshire and Glasgow

“When I ask young men coming in about their relationship and their contraception, I think if women bring it up they will enter into discussion, if they don’t they’ll often not. That’s something that has to be worked on.”

“Funnily enough, men always worry about reversibility, their masculinity and their fertility. They’re not easily accepting that they might need to use contraception too.” “In our society we don’t think about sharing it. It’s a two way thing. You think, it’s my responsibility, I get pregnant so I need to use something. But then you don’t share what problems I have, or how uncomfortable it was having a coil fitted. Or you just get on with it. And the partner just sort of ignores it as well.” “Sex is really difficult to negotiate. It’s very emotional and personal. People find it really difficult to talk to us health professional, and probably even more difficult to talk to their partners.” “People are not really negotiating sexual health screening. When you’re in a new relationship and you’re committed to each other, but nobody dares to mention ‘could you just go for a check up?’.”

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Discovering the clinical perspective

Anja Guttinger

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SPEAKING TO PROFESSIONALS

Consultant in sexual and reproductive health, Clinical Director, Sandyford Glasgow


ENCOURAGING DISCUSSION Additional research with a exercise for couples

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I still felt like I needed some more insight on if and how partners share their experiences and expectations of contraception. To try and cover the topic more I created a brief exercise for couples to do together, that had them express their thoughts and see how much they knew about the feelings their partners had. The two part leaflet was intended to be filled initially individually and then shared between the partners. On the second half they would reflect on their understanding of their partners thoughts.


Condoms

Hormonal methods

Buying condoms might sometimes be more on men.

Women would like to share their bad experiences with hormonal contraception with their partners,

but might not feel entirely understood since the men might not be very aware of the topic.

Men understand that their partners might go through more than themselves and would want to support them.

Some women agree it being their responsibility mainly, but it’s their body and their desicion ultimately.

For women using hormonal contraception is also an important way of being safe.

Clinicians point of view

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With the large amount of data I collected it was important to process it carefully. I group individual bits of information into larger topics.

There is a lot of misinformation about contraception.

Sex should be discussed more.

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Self Initiated

Writing down and affinitising

Men might not think they need to worry about contraception as well.

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COLLATING DATA

It is ultimately the desicion of the woman to use hormonal methods, but that can lead to them also not sharing their negative experiences.


Men might not be very educated on the hormonal methods their partner uses

Couple needs to be more prepared & there's some sense of worry or risk

Too much misinformation and not enough conversation

A lot of information comes from friends & sisters

With the insights more or less identified, I wanted to clarify how they all relate to each other. It seemed like a bit of a chain of events, so I created a visual representation of it. I also added quotes from my interviews to check I wasn’t going too far from the original research.

Women would like to discuss & share responsibility with partner, but find it difficult when they know very little

Responsibility for hormonal methods is often on women

"My body, my choice"

Often women struggle with at least some side effects

Reduces fear of pregnancy & more intimate sex

Things women brought up Things men mentioned The clinicians perception Issue or challenge Positive or neutral

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Men would like to have a role also in hormonal contraception

Women might think it's inherently their responsibility as they get pregnant

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Both sides aware & bothered by the lack of sensation & intimacy

Some women just put up with it & might not think there's a need for conversation

Some men don't realise they need to worry about contraception

HORMONAL CONTRACEPTION

CONDOMS & OTHER NON-HORMONAL CONTRACEPTION Self Initiated

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Men often responsible for condoms

Men are aware that condoms don't have a similar effect on them unlike hormonal methods have on women


ROUTINE

Copper coil

Combined pill

Happy

Cheeky

Carefree

Happy

Cheeky

Awkward

Crazy

Annoyed

Worried

Frustrated

Confused

Worried

CHALLENGES WITH CONTRACEPTION

Implant

Sad

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I also created a chronological map of the ’standard’ relationship based on the participants' experiences and the relationship mapping exercise. This helped me to identify in which moments an intervention would be the most useful.

CHANGING TO A HORMONAL METHOD

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Male condom

SEXUAL HEALTH SCREENING

COMMITTING

MEETING

AGREEING TO INITIALLY USING CONDOMS


TAKE AWAYS

Women are usually mainly responsible for hormonal contraception

Women would like to share their experiences with hormonal contraception, but might find it difficult because men might not be very aware

Men understand the fact that women might have difficulties and would like to support their partners, but might not know how

Men might mainly be responsible of getting hold of condoms

What to go forward with

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These were the main points of interest I wanted to take further. The lack of or poor communication seemed to be often caused by not knowing enough about the methods and their effects. Couples also weren't entirely sure how to share the unequal division of responsibility.


GENERATING EMPATHY How to have couples understand each others struggles

Difficult to use cutlery empathising the abnormal behaviour or schizophrenics.

Mask mimicking the reality of a person with dementia.

AR, audio and edible experience of what being autistic might be like.

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Communal games to discuss sex created for Chinese NGO's.

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It is understandably difficult to fully empathise with your partner who might be going through painful experiences if they haven’t had a similar situation for themselves. I wanted to explore existing projects that attempt to generate empathy or encourage discussion. Some of the concepts mimic the physiological things that for example autistic people or people with dementia might have to go through, in order to understand their experience. However I wanted to steer away from the mimicking of feelings, as probably not many women would want their partners to have to go through what they are experiencing. This is why I wanted to rather facilitate conversation instead.

Shapes facilitating discussion about sexual preferences.


Concept #1 Interactive packaging

INITIAL CONCEPTS Generating discussion and empathy

In order to remind about important topics to talk about with your partner, there could be questions and tasks in contraceptive packaging. It would be a fun way to initiate conversation in the moment of use.

Concept #2 Contraceptive game

With my concepts I wanted to encourage discussion, which would hopefully lead to more understanding of each other. These were the main points that I wanted to achieve with my concepts.

Encourage discussion about birth-control & sex in general

A game for both partners to learn about the available methods and help choose the suitable one together. The couple would ’earn’ money based on what they expect from birth-control and could spend it on methods that correspond with their expectations.

Concept #3

Couples could use a set of varying abstract objects to help their discussion about the likes and dislikes within their sex life and contraception. Each item could be dedicated to a certain subject.

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Also fun way of learning about the methods available

Items for discussion

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Through this raise awareness of each others issues & help empathise with partner


TEST MODELS Refining & testing concepts Concept #1 Interactive packaging

“The questions are necessary for everyone to answer.” “We have already discussed the questions.” “I like it, but it was too vague to lead to something.”

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This concept is very briefly just conversation starting question in contraceptive packaging. The text inside the packaging asks “what drives you crazy”, which is intended to raise discussion about things that a couple enjoys in sex and contraception and what they are not happy with. When it comes to sharing responsibility of contraception within the relationship, the intention is to encourage sharing both positive and negative thoughts early on in the relationship.

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After some refining of the models and concepts I took them to be tested. I gave each model to a couple so that they could test it in the intended environment together; home. The topics of the discussions are quite intimate, so I wanted the test subjects to be fully comfortable to do the exercises. To help with the tasks and for me to receive feedback, each concept had a leaflet explaining the idea and space to write feedback on.


“The props were very engaging, but some of them were hard to know what it was.”

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This concept is a game for the couple to play together, thats aim is to find the right method of contraception for them. The couple choose cards that have prompts such as “I don’t want to remember to take contraception” or “I don’t mind using condoms”, which with corresponding icons match with tags connected to the different methods of contraceptives. The point of this is to take some of the pressure of choosing the right method of contraception from one individual.

“Useful, but didn’t tell me about options I didn’t know before.” “Did not persuade or dissuade from using other methods that were left out.” “A really complicated issue - rather than you cannot use, it could be a lesser of two evils.”

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Self Initiated

Contraceptive game

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Concept #2

“Good way to start the discussion and have conversation about it.”


“A little too open ended.”

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This is also a game that the couple would go through together and the theme is to talk about their relationship. Within the game there is plasticine, that the couple uses to make items representing things that they are happy or frustrated with. The accompanying leaflet then asks them if the items on the board are equally divided; do both of them have as many positives and negatives. It's meant to visualise the potential inequality of responsibility of contraception and encourage them to attempt to solve or relief it.

“Quite cathartic playing with the plasticine, we had a healthy discussion.” “We enjoyed the task and we discussed our intimacies, so was a good task.” Salla Tanskanen 2018

Self Initiated

Items for discussion

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Concept #3

“Shapes don’t attach much more meaning, just the cards are more useful.”


FINAL CONCEPTS

Meeting & getting to know each other

Committing & considering a new Routine & solving challenges method with contraception

Interactive packaging

Contraceptive game

Items for discussion

Instead of using branded packaging the concept would exist in the bags in which the NHS free condoms come in. This would be more accessible and desirable for NHS to promote. It is ideally for people in a new relationship still learning about each other. In addition to conversation starting questions the paper bag would also contain instructions on how to get hold of the other two concepts.

The contraceptive game would be for couples who have been together for some time and are getting more serious. They might want to consider another method to the initially used condom, so the game would help them make a desicion. As moving from using condoms to another method is connected with going through sexual health screening the game would be available at sexual health clinics similarly to them offering free condoms.

The discussion facilitating game would is intended for couples who have been using hormonal contraception for a while and might have some challenges with it. They could use it to visualise the issues they have. The game could be attained from a GP or a consultation with a sexual health clinician.

Changing according to the feedback

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The three separate concepts merged into one service that applies to different moments in a relationship.


STORY BOARD

Casper had got some free condoms and notices that there is something printed on the inside of the bag.

They go through the discussion starting questions together and enjoy learning more about each other.

After some months the couple decided to try to use something other than condoms as birthcontrol, so they both agreed to get tested.

While leaving the clinic Casper get some more free condoms, but also notices another bag that contains a contraceptive game.

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They made the mutual desicion of using condoms as they both want to stay safe.

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Anna and Casper have just started dating and they' are just getting to know one another.


Anna has been on the pill for some months now but she is having some side effects because of it. When she's at the GP talking about it, the doctor gives her the relationship discussion game.

She takes it to Casper to talk about the challenges she is having with the pill. Casper is happy to do his best to support her.

They make objects together that represent the things that they are happy with in their relationship and also the things that are frustrating.

Casper realises the amount of negative things on Anna's side of the board and tries his best to support her. Anna feels relieved that she has been able to talk about her frustration.

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They play the game together and learn about the options they have. Anna thinks the combined pill sounds like a safe choice.

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He brings it back home to go through it with Anna. She's glad Casper wants to help her decide on the new method.


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VISUAL ITERATION Exploring the ideal form and visual language To go forward with the finalised concept it was time to work on the tangible form of it. I worked on each part of the concept individually and together to ensure a continuous visual image.

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Self Initiated

As I wanted to change the packaging concept to be in the form of the paper bag for free condoms, I tried to create something that was discreet on the outside but fun on the inside.

A more playful approach to representing contraceptive methods.

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Instead of using plasticine for the discussion game I explored other ways of people being able to build items and be creative.


Splattered spray paint looked fun, but would be difficult to write on.

Clear acrylic seemed a bit too boring.

Coloured tracing paper gives a bit of colour but stays translucent.

“The suggestive abstract shapes are funny.�

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With bright colours I wanted the shapes to look exciting. Using acrylic paint however left a bit of a messy texture.

I added shapes that are especially good for being written on.

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For a more tidier look I used laser cut acrylic.


I tried different styles of illustrating the methods. I didn’t want to make it too polished, but not too childish either.

I was trying to find the best form for the informative tags for the contraceptive models.

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Painting the laser etched acrylic caused some issues with being able to see the etching.

“The cartoony style looks a bit too childish and patronising.”

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“The pink makes it look like it’s for women, which might make men shy away from it.”


For the shape building game acrylic still seemed a bit more suitable, as it could be used several times. It would be more durable and potentially be displayed in the bedroom.

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As the set of items would be available for free through the NHS, I wanted to explore cheaper materials, so card and paper seemed appropriate. Also the contraceptive game would only be used once or twice and after that it could be thrown away, which justified the use of card as well. I wanted to keep the colours bright, but not too feminine to make it feel like a shared activity.

As the shapes for building were going to be quite bright and colourful, I wanted to keep the board they would be on fairly muted to draw attention to the discussion pieces.

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Finalising colours and materials


FINAL MODEL

Part #1

The 'Tell me what drives you crazy' condom packaging could be the paper bag for the selection of free condoms offered by the NHS. It is accessible to anyone and has conversation starting questions about sex and relationships that are applicable to anyone. It also acts as a sort of a promotional material for the 'Which one to choose' and 'Let's talk about us' games.

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Talking throughout the relationship

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Tell me what drives you crazy


" What drives you crazy?"

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The packaging also has references to the 'Which one to choose' and the 'Let's talk about us' games, which both of them take a note of for future reference.

Self Initiated

Both of them intrigued discuss what drives each of them crazy, both in a good and bad way. They are happy learn new things about each other and share their own experiences as well.

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Anna and Casper met fairly recently and are getting into a sort of a relationship. They have been using the free condoms and Casper noticed that the paper bag they would come in had some conversation starters on the inside of it.

"I love it when you do that thing."


"I don't really like using condoms, but I don't know what else to use. Let's decide together."

Part #2 Which one to choose?

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Anna and Casper have been dating for a whole now and Anna has been considering starting to take the pill, but she is not sure if it's the right one to go with. They already agreed to get checked and while Anna was at the clinic she spotted the game to help people choose the right contraceptive.

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The 'Which one do we choose?' game consists of actual size mock ups of all different methods of contraception with descriptive tags, a set of cards with prompts of contraceptive priorities and a instruction leaflet with additional information on the different methods.


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The icons on the back of the cards guided the two to which methods would be more favourable to them. A lot of those ones are hormonal methods, including the pill as Anna had been wondering.

By looking at the contraceptive chart they learn together a bit more about the different hormonal methods. Casper is suggesting also the natural family planning method, but Anna seems more interested in the implant even though it has a risk of some side effects.

Both Anna and Casper feel like they learned a lot about their birthcontrol options and Anna feels more convinced that the implant might be a better option for her than the pill.

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Self Initiated

Anna brought the game back home with her to try it out with Casper, who is happy to give it a go. They go through the set of prompt cards together and select the 'Avoiding pregnancy is my priority' and 'I don't want to interrupt sex' cards.

"I think I'd feel more secure with using the implant rather than just tracking my cycle."

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" I guess getting pregnant is pretty risky right now."

" I didn't know there were so many different methods using hormones. And how they are all 99% effective."


"Can we talk, Casper?"

Concept #3 Let's talk about us!

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Anna has had the contraceptive implant for some time now. Mostly she's happy with it, especially not having to use condoms, but sometimes she notices that she's a bit moodier than usual. She has told Casper about it, but he doesn't seem to understand the extent of Anna's frustration. During a check up of the implant, the clinician gave Anna the 'Let's talk about us' game to take home.

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'Let's talk about us' is a discussion facilitating game that consists of a board which three parts represent the two partners and the couple together, acrylic shapes that can be built into objects by slotting them together and an instructions leaflet with suggested questions to get the conversation started.


They build objects out of the shapes that represent the things that they wrote down. Both of them have fun putting things together and discussing their answers. They arrange the objects to the dedicated halves of the circles and into positives and negatives.

"I didn't realise the birth-control we use caused you so many issues."

Casper notices that Anna seems to have a bunch of frustrating objects on her side that are about the implant. He promises to try and remember to be more supportive during her moody days.

They agree on leaving the board and shapes out in their bedroom. Casper is convinced it will help him remember to get Anna ice cream and sweeties when she's feeling down.

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Casper wants to support Anna so he is happy to give it a go. They go through the instruction leaflet together and answer the suggested questions. Both write down the points they feel like are the most important for them on the building blocks. Anna also writes down that she is bothered by the mood swings the implant gives her.

"What would the biggest shape on our relationship board mean?"

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" I like it when you know exactly what I like."


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Judging from the reaction of many participants, the topic had a great interest and was due to be discussed. Women would often express their frustration of taking care of birth-control in a relationship, especially when they were using hormonal contraception. Similarly men would tell me about their experiences with their girlfriends struggling with the emotional side effects. Both of the sides were clearly aware, at least to an extent, of the issues birth-control might have. Due to this, getting in touch with participants for interviews was not very tricky. Reaching people working within sexual health was also somewhat easy; Pauline McGough and Anja Guttinger were both personally quite interested in the topic and were willing to help. I would have liked to interview more professionals, which was my intention initially, but due to time

constraints I was only able to use a survey to gather information with. Also I was unfortunately not able to reach any high schools to speak to the sexual educators, in order to find out where the perceptions of contraception originally come from. However, retrospectively the amount of research seemed to be just enough for a self-initiated project. The shared theme of the insights I gathered was the need for more empathy; couples better understanding each other negative experiences better. Medically it is not yet possible to share the actual responsibility of taking, especially hormonal, contraception so I had to rather aim for better support between partners. This made concept creation more challenging than expected, but I decided to attempt to create open

As sex shouldn't be a too serious of a subject I wanted to keep the visual image of the items playful. I experimented with what colours to use quite a lot, as I wanted to use something bright and lively. From the feedback I got for them I decided to tone them down for them to be not gender specific. The pink I had previously used was described as too feminine which would potentially make men shy away from it, instead of the couple feeling like it is a shared thing. Looking back at the colours I feel like they could still be more intense, but I feel like they are more inclusive to both sexes.

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Self Initiated

FINAL WORDS

When exploring ways of making the final models I wanted to keep in mind the fact that these would ideally be a part of the free condom and sexual health service NHS offers. The materials I considered had to be cheap enough, like card and paper used for many of the parts. The two first concepts especially would be things that are used once or twice and can then be discarded. However, the last concept, discussion objects, could be used several times and even be displayed in the bedroom. This is why I decided to use more durable laser cut acrylic instead of paper for it. It can also be written on with a marker and wiped off to be used again.

In total the project seems rather successful, even though there are always things to improve. I would have liked to test the final models to get more feedback on the visual image and the more refined instructions and questions. As always, the time constraints did not allow me to do it, but regardless the concepts seem to work out.

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conversation in different parts of the relationship.


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Self Initiated

Project Process Journal: Tell me what drives you crazy?  

A self-initiated university project on sharing the responsibility of birth-control in relationships.

Project Process Journal: Tell me what drives you crazy?  

A self-initiated university project on sharing the responsibility of birth-control in relationships.

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