Date of Award

2016

Document Type

Open Access Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Rhetoric, Theory and Culture (MS)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Humanities

Advisor 1

M Ann Brady

Committee Member 1

Karla Kitalong

Committee Member 2

Marika Seigel

Abstract

In this report, I argue for the inclusion of personas in the development process of technologies that are designed to allow users to collect and track their health information. Personas provide a profile of a user and their needs, goals, and contexts. This tool can help designers to better understand their users, in order to create better, more usable end products. I examine one particular self-tracking technology, smartphone applications that allow users to record information about their menstrual cycles. Many of the most popular period tracking applications available today only meet the needs of a narrow user group, resulting in a technology that is unusable for certain populations of users. In this project, I collect data from individuals who had attempted to use period tracking technologies in the past, but felt they were unable to manage the information that was important to them. Using Lene Nielsen’s Engaging Personas approach, I crafted three personas that reflected the needs and goals of these users. This project serves as a model for developers of period tracking applications and health-tracking technologies more broadly.