Menstrual Maze student project to compete at CHI 2018

Monday, January 29, 2018

Bonnie Tran and Leena Choi, seniors in the Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering, will present their project Menstrual Maze at the 2018 CHI conference, as part of the Student Design Competition.

Menstrual Maze is an educational toy that engages parents, children, and educators in menstrual health and body literacy education. The project aims to address taboos around menstruation, by supporting dialogue on the topic between parents and children ages 4-9.

Bonnie Tran describes the inspiration behind Menstrual Maze and her team’s design process:

The original idea stems from a design workshop in which menstrual health activists, educators, and community members attended. Participants imagined a uterus toy that could facilitate healthy conversations between parents and young children in spaces such as a pediatrician’s waiting room and classrooms. To build upon the idea, our team visualized, designed, and built a working prototype using a combination of laser cutting and electronics. We employed research through design methods, in which the design artefact was used as a means to explore, discover, and iterate. Our objectives were to explore 1) what introducing children ages 4– 9 to reproductive organs looks like and 2) the types of interactions that emerge from joint media experiences between parents and kids over menstrual health.

View a three-minute video describing Menstrual Maze, here:

This project is conducted in collaboration with HCDE’s Tactile and Tactical Design Lab, and Tran and Choi are advised by HCDE PhD candidate Sarah Fox and Assistant Professor Daniela Rosner. The work builds on Fox’s research on access to menstrual health resources.

Tran and Choi plan to continue work on Menstrual Maze to incorporate findings resulting from user studies with children and parents. Based on the feedback, they hope to explore increasing game complexity to maintain interest and increase interactivity; extending parent involvement; expanding to puberty; and exploring how to fluidly introduce additional resources to continue the conversation about menstruation. 

The theme of CHI 2018 is “Engage,” and applicants to the Student Design Competition were encouraged to use human-centered design approaches to develop a new way to support, empower, or change the behavior of a group around a shared area of interest. The conference will be held in Montréal, Canada, from April 21–26, 2018.

Bonnie Tran will also present this project as part of the project showcase at Convey UX, happening in Seattle from February 27–March 1, 2018.