Bedsider for The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy

Building a birth control support network for women ages 18 to 29

The United States has a significant problem with unplanned pregnancy, especially among unmarried 18- to 29-year-olds. Seven in ten pregnancies in this demographic are unplanned, a statistic that applies to women of all ethnicities and socioeconomic levels. Complicating matters are the social tension between abstinence-only and contraception-inclusive education, and the difficulty and expense associated with obtaining prescription birth control.

Since 2009, IDEO has worked closely with the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, a nonprofit NGO, to address this pressing social challenge. During the first phase of the project, a San Francisco-based team identified the need for comprehensive birth control support. We looked at ways to transform birth control from a prescription (a piece of paper that is handed to you by a doctor) into a subscription (a program that ensures you start using birth control, use it correctly, and migrate to more effective methods).

Given the complex and potentially overwhelming subject matter, we interviewed women in the target demographic; talked with doctors, counselors, and other experts with varying opinions about birth control; and hosted roundtable discussions. We developed several concepts and scenarios that allowed members of The National Campaign to see sex and pregnancy through the eyes of the young women they’re working to reach. Our research and prototyping efforts led to the design of Bedsider, a multi-touch point birth control support system with a carefully crafted sex-positive brand, which is uncommon for the health-care industry. Bedsider focuses on five key areas (awareness, motivational drivers, digital offerings, services, and loyalty) and acts as a vehicle for behavioral change that’s flexible, with room to grow into a much larger movement.

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Project date: 2009