Period: Test & Iterate

This week’s testing was two-fold. First, we left our prototype out in the wild (the RMC) with a link to a survey, which we also distributed digitally.

We ended up getting 114 responses on this survey, but the vast majority of respondents said they encountered the survey digitally, rather than in person. However, even if users weren’t taking our survey, they were taking products from the prototype.

When we removed the prototype two weeks after putting it out, almost every product was missing. All of the bundles were gone, but we hypothesize that this was influenced by the bundle drawer being the top drawer, rather than a strong preference for bundles. All products aside from about three tampons, and some pantyliners were missing from the other drawers as well. The majority of brown paper bags were also remaining in the drawers, suggesting users did not take these.

The prototype also collected a few handwritten thank you notes from thankful users, which was an unexpected pleasant surprise.

In terms of survey results, our main finding was consistent with our in person-testing–users are split on their preferences. Though a slight majority of users said their first choice would be the take what you need drawer, which is similar to the existing Rice WOmen’s Resource Center system, preference for second choice was evenly split. As such, we did not see a clearly dominant solution.

Our survey also revealed that 30% of users say “yes” they need a long-term solution for access to menstrual products, validating our assertion that the hidden user exists. However, we found it difficult to access this hidden user through testing. We decided to send out a third survey, this one specifically targeting the hidden user. The description for this survey said

“This survey is seeking to hear from students who desire long-term access to free menstrual products. Rather than individuals who just need one or two products occasionally in a situational need, we are seeking to hear from those who need longer term access, either because of financial burden or any other reason. You can take this anonymously, but if you are comfortable leaving your email we would love to follow up with an interview.”

We only ended up getting 8 responses to this survey, and the main take-away is that these users report discomfort, guilt, and stigma for taking more than a few free products.

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