The National Campaign for Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy
A birth-control support network for women ages 18 to 29
The jury strongly appreciated the immediately understandable connection between problem, research and design solution. We judged the project as implementing a very fresh approach with convincing, strong and sensitive graphic design and we were charmed by the tone of voice. This project is a winner in all respects. We highly rated the use of new technologies to address problems in a smart, sustainable and ethical way and found the videos funny and are therefore highly educational.
1. Summarize the problem you set out to solve. What was the challenge posed to you? Did it get you excited and why?
The US has a significant problem with unplanned pregnancy, especially among unmarried 18- to 29-year-olds. Seven in 10 pregnancies in this demographic are unplanned, a statistic that applies to women of all ethnicities and socioeconomic status. Complicating matters are the social tension between abstinence-only and contraception-inclusive educators, and the hassle and expense associated with obtaining prescription birth control.
The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy asked us to help it try to reduce the unplanned pregnancies in this demographic. The challenge: we essentially needed to change a behavior driven by one of biology’s most powerful urges—the Kinsey Institute estimates that 18- to 29-year-olds have sex 112 times a year. To tackle the complex and potentially overwhelming task, we interviewed a diverse selection of women; talked with doctors, counselors and other experts with varying opinions about birth control; and hosted roundtable discussions.
2. What point of view did you bring to the challenge? Was there anything additional that you wanted to achieve with this project or bring to this project that was not part of the original brief?
Designers worked closely with the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy to address the challenge of unplanned pregnancy in women between the ages of 18 and 29 years old. The collaboration produced Bedsider, a multi-touchpoint birth-control support network with a sex-positive brand.
Bedsider focuses on five key areas (awareness, motivational drivers, digital offerings, services and loyalty) and acts as a flexible vehicle for behavioral change.
Its Besider.org website offers comprehensive education about existing birth-control methods. This includes: opt-in reminder services; personal stories from women across the US on why they chose a particular method; a phone service that provides information in English and Spanish; and features such as “Fact or Fiction” (fun animated clips debunking popular myths) and a “Frisky Friday” newsletter.
3. When designing this project, whose interests did you consider? (Discuss various stakeholders, audiences, retailing, manufacturing, assembly, distribution, etc., for example.)
Bedsider’s sex-positive brand message is uncommon in the health-care industry. It’s designed to be a subscription (continuous, supportive and portable) rather than a prescription (fixed, one-time-only and non-transferable). For the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, Bedsider is about encouraging women to use planned and longer-lasting forms of birth control. For young women, it’s about having better sex.
Bedsider acts as a vehicle for behavioral change that’s flexible, with room to grow into a much larger movement. It is designed to accompany women wherever they go—it’s available at the doctor’s office, on their phones, in their online life—and to deliver information in a clear, relevant tone that will inspire them to make birth-control decisions outside of the heat of the moment.
4. Describe the rigor that informed your design. (Research, ethnography, subject matter experts, materials exploration, technology, iteration, testing, etc., as applicable.) If this was a strictly research or strategy project, please provide more detail here.
Bedsider’s multi-touchpoint support network considers every phase of birth control (including awareness, education, getting on a method, sticking with a plan) from a user’s point of view. Touchpoints include: doctor’s offices and clinics, which can choose to talk about the network, share Bedsider’s information on birth control, and learn from the tone used in the materials; the website, where women can sign up for reminders, learn from funny and educational videos, and investigate which method might be best for them; a phone tree in Spanish and English that provides information on birth-control methods; and SMS reminders.
The National Campaign is happy with the program: “[The entrant] brought the voices of these people to the table and helped us understand that we'd only be successful in helping women select the method of birth control that's best for them if we empathize with their specific situation and their changing needs across their years-long birth control journey.”
5. What is the social value of your design? (Gladdening, educational, economic, paradigm-shifting, sustainable, labor-mindful, environmental, cultural, etc.) How does it earn its keep in the world?
Pilots are being conducted in partnership with three health centers in the Planned Parenthood of South Florida and the Treasure Coast affiliate (they launched in the summer of 2010). There are currently 750 women participating, not including those who visit the website and sign up for SMS messages on their own.
(The national launch is slated for January 2012.)
6. If you could have done one thing differently with the project, what would you have changed?