Rotten Cherries: An Information-Sharing Platform for Menstrual Product Safety

2017. 9 - 2017. 12
Responding to a recent news of recalls of a Korean sanitary product brand that was claimed in public to contain harmful ingredients, I teamed up with three students in school of information and designed a mobile platform that seeks to empower women to protect their health by making informed decisions about the sanitary products they purchase. By participatory design process, we propose a platform that (1) harnesses independent laboratory test results to provide trustworthy, high-quality, and accessible sanitary product safety information, and (2) provides a way for users to share information about their menstrual health, enabling them to draw upon crowdsourced reviews to make more informed decisions.
Methods & Toolkit
Participatory Design, Interview, Sketch & InVision


In summer 2017, South Korean women filed a class-action lawsuit against sanitary product manufacturer Klean Nara after widespread allegations of negative health effects such as reduced menstrual flow, change in blood odor and viscosity, and skin rashes, after using Klean Nara’s Lilian pads. Both accurate and timely knowledge and safe materials were at the crux of the issue in this case.

User Research

User Interview

For interview, our team recruited 10 Korean and US women ages 18- 40 who regularly purchase sanitary products. In the interviews, we specifically found that:

They lack of reliable information related to women health

They focus on seeing objective information and safety rating criteria

They desire to share menstrual experiences related to product use

They have time-sensitivity of information



Based on the interview findings, we had hour-long brainstorming session to freely exchange ideas and rated the ideas with the criteria of relevance to the problem and expected impact to the primary users.

Design Solution

Rotten Cherries

The Rotten Cherries platform seeks to combine third- party independent laboratory evaluations with community engagement tools (such as forum-like elements) to foster a conversation surrounding sanitary products and menstrual health.

Key Features
  • By navigating to the methodology section of our platform, users can see all academic sources used in analysis, as well as digestible health risk information, the weighting system used to assign risk levels, and other information related to product testing.
  • Ingredient Information and Safety Rating: An at-a-glance rating method using green, yellow or red icons next to each product, drawing from approaches used by existing consumer product safety databases

    Forum: Users can submit their experiences and provide feedback on existing discussions by navigating to tabs for reviews and comments

    Cycle Tracker: An integrated menstrual cycle tracker and detailed symptom tracker allows women to monitor their cycles for fertility or general health purposes

    Usability Testing

    We iterated two round prototyping sessions with total 10 females and modified the application user interface and flow with the user feedback.

    Paper prototype

    ▪ Participants were concerned about security and identity. Updates to our prototype included requiring sign-in to ensure security. Anonymous commenting is available for user convenience after log-in. Approved users also had the option of creating a unique username to protect their real identity.

    ▪ Participants wanted to quickly know the credibility of the product information. As a result, we modified our rating icons slightly from a color-coded system to icons with text ‘safe,’ ‘fair,’ or ‘harm’. We also made sure to visibly reference the information that informed our rating decision, so users had easy access to the original documentation.

    Digital Prototype

    ▪ Integrated a forum-style comment section on each product page where users could comment and start discussion threads. Each comment has a heart button to allow users to mark when a comment is particularly helpful to them. Users can follow the discussions of product pages of interest, viewable from ‘My Page.’

    ▪ Added an activity log on the user’s personal profile page recording their reviews and comments to help track issues of interest.

    ▪ Added symptom tag functionality on product pages to provide users with at-a-glance information regarding other user’s reported concerns with products.