top of page



Chums is a qualitative research project on women's menstrual health that culminated into developing two design solutions to help reduce discomforts and stress associated with painful menstrual cramps. The first solution is an e-commerce based business model centered around menstrual care needs. The second solution is an innovative sanitary product vending machine with a support app that encourages community participation. Both solutions are currently under development but you can scroll further to see the design approach, qualitative research, insights, and conceptual developments.

Key aspects



Service Design

Social Innovation

Human-centric Approach

Qualitative Research

Product Designer and User Researcher

3 months / Fall 2019


Social Innovation Studio class at School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC)

social innovation front page-04.png


For this project, I chose to design for women who experience painful menstrual cramps. In the initial phase of my research, I chose to include women with diverse ethnicities and age demographics. As I progressed, I began to identify similar patterns among women rooting from same cultural and ethnic backgrounds. So for further research, I narrowed down my group to Indian women between ages 17-40 to gather meaningful and stronger data for synthesis stage.


Human Centric Design Approach

Qualitative Research

I gathered findings and experiences recording them in a tangible form, and then provided interpretation of the observations. 

Observations include information gathered directly from interviews.

Observation(OBS) : Any report from the five senses (Activities, Environments, Interactions, Objects, and Users)

Interpretation (INT): What is being observed, what is the context


 In earlier stages, it is about quantity as well as quality because we don't know exactly where this data is leading us and a large volume of data points can more clearly reveal important trends.


Research data with observations and interpretations gathered from eight research participants 


In this phase, observations and interpretations are carefully reviewed, with an eye to noticing any themes that emerged.

Insights are generated from these themes, using data points as evidences.

How Might We (HMW) questions are then formulated which help in introducing possibilities that provoke meaningful and relevant ideas.


Top 5 Themes of Interest

Other significant themes

for design considerations

Research and Insights

Insights + HMWs

Design Potential #1
Untitled presentation_Page_1.png

Insights + How Might We question 

Untitled presentation_Page_1.png

Supporting Data for insights (click to enlarge)

Design Potential #2
Screen Shot 2020-02-08 at 2.35.35 PM.png

Insights + How Might We question 

Untitled presentation_Page_3.png

Supporting Data for insights (click to enlarge)

Design Potential #3
Untitled presentation_Page_2.png

Insights + How Might We question 

Untitled presentation_Page_2.png

Supporting Data for insights (click to enlarge)



Leveraging the support of my classmates in design thinking, I brainstormed multiple ideas using the HMW questions as starting point to find problem-solving opportunities.

Using these ideations as a starting point, I developed some design concepts



Concept #1
IMG_9402 2.jpg

Storyboard explaining a scenario with the problem and the solution in use (Click to enlarge)

Concept #1
Period Friendly Work Space

- Could be a special room which help women work through hours of acute pain.

- Could be architectural changes in the restroom.

- Space would have objects and facilities that allow women to rest as well as work.

Concept #2

Storyboard explaining a scenario with the problem and the solution in use (Click to enlarge)

Concept #2
Sanitary Product Reserve 

- A new kind of sanitary products reservoir and dispenser maintained and used by the community.

-Like book exchange library, this is a donate one pad, take one pad reservoir and dispenser.

-This system removes the dependence on a person to maintain the dispensers.

Concept #3
IMG_9403 5.jpg

Storyboard explaining a scenario with the problem and the solution in use (Click to enlarge)

Concept #3
Period Care Website Service

- A website service where kin of the female experiencing pain can order pamper products for her.

-The females could also use the subscription based system in this service to order sanitary products as well as pamper products.

-Additionally, this website also has menstrual health bogs, period and pain tracking, locating healthcare services, and counsellor services.



In this stage, I developed concept #2 and concept #3 further since these concepts seemed to be most favored by the users in the feedback sessions. 

Concept: Sanitary Product Reserve

User Feedback.png

-A community vending machine run by community for the community.

-Like a book exchange library, you donate pads into the machine and when you have emergency you use the pads you have reserved

-Users join the community by donating at least 3 pads, which gives them the credit to dispense 3 pads from the machine

-Though incase of emergency, take one and donate some later.

-Connected by an app

- Can see on the entire campus which machines has how many pads that can be dispensed or donated

-Buy a pack from brand that works on the machine and donate that to have credits

Concept: Period Care Website Service

-A subscription-based website service

-Users can opt for the duration of the service

-Users can also select the kind of products they want to order

-Membership also allows access to menstrual health blogs by experts, health care providers, period tracking services as well as talking to a therapist

-Service is potentially designed for the Indian market.

- There will be two categories of users here – the family or friends of the female menstruating who would like to a gesture of love, and the females experiencing period and its symptoms, who would also be the long term users of this service.

Web 1920 – 1.png
User Feedback 4.png
User Feedback 4.png

Thank you

Ashwini, Ceci, Carol, Janhavi, Priya, Ranu, Saiyyammee, Simran, Surekha, Unaiza, and Vidushi for helping me with my research and user testing. 

George Aye and my classmates from the Social Innovation studio for feedbacks and critiques.

bottom of page