Designers in White Coats: Deploying Ovum, a Fertility Tracking Device

Sarah Homewood, Laurens Boer, Anna Vallgårda

Research output: Conference Article in Proceeding or Book/Report chapterArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


As self-tracking practices continue to proliferate, there has been a call for a consideration of how the design of these devices influence the users experience of themselves and their bodies beyond utility, efficacy and accuracy. The research product Ovum was designed to facilitate a DIY, shared, domestic experience, rather than an expert-led, individual, clinical experience of fertility tracking. Ovum uses the method of saliva sampling to determine ovulation. This paper unpacks the findings from a three-month long deployment of Ovum with seven couples trying to conceive. Besides an evaluation of the device in terms of the three experiential qualities aimed for in the design process, we report on the consequences of executing a design deployment that resembles a clinical trial. We contribute our experience in order to develop an understanding of how designing for the body places interaction designers in novel and complex situations.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Publication date25 Apr 2020
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4503-6708-0/20/04
Publication statusPublished - 25 Apr 2020


  • Self-Tracking
  • Ovulation;
  • Women’s Health
  • Research through Design
  • Menstrual Cycles
  • Fertility


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