Academic Connections

Raelynn O'Leary and Ashley Deal’s Intro to Interaction Design class at Carnegie Mellon's School of Design collaborates each year with Dr. Sonya Borrero and CWHRI to develop mobile applications to address contraceptive use as part of their Master of Arts in Design program. 

In Spring of 2021, students were given the following prompt:
Design a mobile application that allows people of any gender, in relationships or single, to learn about, compare, and choose from among available birth control methods. 

Utilizing the structures and work by FemTech, students were able to build mobile applications addressing various needs and populations. These applications were so impressive, CWHRI wanted to highlight their achievements and ability to create comprehensive mobile contraceptive education platforms.

Three screen images of the application opens to the "learn" and "compare" pages for contraception options. Categories displayed in the app include IUD, the shot, the implant, the ring, the patch, diaphram, condom, the pill, internal condom, the sponge, spermicide, and fertility awareness.

Birth Control Learning Applicaiton

Our design is a mobile experience which empowers individuals, particularly young adults, to make their own choices about birth control through user-defined exploration. 

This application focuses on: 

  • Empathy for young adults and others who are new to birth control               
  • Empowerment for individuals to explore on their own terms and feel confidence in and control over the flow of information        
  • Clarity in access to a substantial amount of information on birth control methods, including uses beyond contraception   

Design Team: Ivar Dameron, Mica Harrison Loosemore, Christina Ip, and Matt Muenzer

Three screen images of the application open to the "account", "feature articles", and "journal" pages.


This birth control decision aid empowers users to learn and reflect about birth control methods through multiple channels. This mobile application focused on community-minded users with left-of-center view on reproductive issues and enables these users to engage with resources, organizations, and clinics in the reproductive health space. 

Guiding Principles: 

  • Community-minded, interested in progressive ideas
  • Flexible for various backgrounds
  • Emphasis on personal stories and current contexts
  • Focus on curated content

Design Team: Laura Pedrosa, William Rutter, and Jonah Conlin 

Three screen images of the application opens to the home screen introducing Shirley, the chat screen where a suer can speak with Shirley, the All Methods page with the pill's information highlighted.

Ask Shirley

This application explored contraception through compassionate conversation and utilizes natural language understanding, machine learning, and natural language generation to make the application generate appropriate responses to the user. 


  • Compassion                                     
  • Friendly and noninvasive    
  • Makes no assumptions about gender, values, or life situation    
  • Empowerment                                 
  • Users have control over when & how they access resources and provide personal information    

Design Team: Yi Shang, Sian Sheu, and Joe Nangle

Three screen images of the application opens to the attributes page with "effectiveness" and "birth effects" highlighted, a birth control methods chart comparing various methods on an x-y axis, and a summary page describing the users top methods, priorities, saved comparisons, questions, and next steps.

Controlling my Birth Control

This birth control application utilizes user choice to develop axes graphs that display the interests of the user. The user will select two attributes which will become a visual x- and y- graph of the methods. This will have more preferred methods according to the two chosen attributes appear in the top right corner (greater in contrast) and the least preferred methods appear in the lower left corner) lowest in contrast. 

Guiding Principles: 

  • Respecting privacy
  • Promoting Intimacy
  • Sorting based on personal priorities
  • Providing a summary of interactions
  • Simplicity 

Design Team: Melissa Cagan, Chen-Yu Chiu, and Taery Kim