Inclusive and Insightful Data Visualization: An Evaluation of Menstrual Tracking Apps
DescriptionInterpretable and flexible data visualization in Menstrual Tracking Apps (MTAs) can allow users to understand the unique intricacies of their body, paint a story about their health to providers and themselves, and ignite action into positive lifestyle changes. Since no previous analyses have evaluated the design of data visualizations in MTAs, our goal was to gain an understanding of potential issues in how predictions (start of menstruation, fertility window, ovulation date) and analysis of user data is presented. Our team collaboratively designed a set of heuristic evaluation questions that examined in-app functions including, but not limited to, entering, editing and interpreting user data. We applied this questionnaire to MTAs in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, totaling 67 MTAs. The responses to these questions coupled with comments about app design allowed us to systematically assess the design of how predictions and analysis are presented. In analyzing app design, we identified potential issues that are grouped into four main themes: Monetization, Accessibility, Ambiguity, and Flexibility. Most evaluated MTAs required subscriptions to gain full access to predictions and analysis, lacked quick access to a list view of period predictions, presented non-intuitive calendar views, and restricted user ability to specify what data should be analyzed and in what manner. Our analysis points to ways that MTA developers can provide functional design and information to end-users and enable them to ask deep questions about their health and to improve the utility of MTAs to individuals who menstruate and their healthcare providers.