Yes, You Picked the TOTALLY RIGHT Time of the Month to Patronise Me…

14Feb10

WARNING: Sensitive types – navigate away from this page. Or at least cover your eyes.

Mother f***ers. Mother. F***ers. I see the draw of an app dedicated to tracking your period, such as Period Tracker, Lady Biz and iPeriod. Lord knows these things are unpredictable and tracking irregularities is always a good idea. But honestly, do you really have to patronise the hell out of me while you’re at it? Dude, WRONG TIME to be doing that.

First, let’s discuss the smiley face mood trackers. Now while “Dear Diary” type entries may not be to everyone’s tastes, perhaps you can acknowledge that we are nearly universally literate (not to mention the fact that girls have been outperforming boys in literacy tests for some time now). Words, lovely words and sets of words, like, “changeable moods,” and, “irritable,” “stressed,” or, conversely, “happy,” “excitable,” and, “calm.” WHY THE HELL do you give me squiggly face, angry face, frowny face, happy face? What? My moods are not cartoons. They are real. And yes, some of the changes or changeability may be due to hormone fluctuations. I can accept that. But condensing them to cartoonish faces makes them seem less relevant and, quite frankly, horrifically patronising. I am looking right at you, Period Tracker.

Also, the flowers (again, Period Tracker, why?!). All the flowers. Most websites and applications aimed at women have gained some insight – the cartoon flowers are not appealing. Decorating our apps like we’re five when we are so patently NOT five is not an attractive way to gain the female vote.

It is unsurprising that most of the paid versions of these apps to do not touch the top 25 (notable exception of Period Tracker Deluxe). The free versions, meanwhile, are accompanied with reviews like, “I downloaded this onto my girlfriend’s phone as a joke,” (what a lovely boy) and, “My friends like to load this and laugh at the tampon ad for fun.” I am admittedly paraphrasing, but you get the idea.

Wrong, wrong, wrong time of the month to patronise your main target, buddies. App selling FAIL.

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2 Responses to “Yes, You Picked the TOTALLY RIGHT Time of the Month to Patronise Me…”

  1. I love this post and totally agree, though I must admit that the incredible usefulness (getting serious for a moment, it actually helped me when I had an issue and had to give full info to my doc – voila, emailed last 9 months of data!!) of PeriodTracker far outweighs it’s cutsey graphics. Remember, that at certain points in the month, our gooey, soft and pliable side does make us prone to enjoy such flowers and colors!! 🙂

    By the way, when we were developing our app (the first menopause sypmtom/solution tracker app, myPause), we struggled with the color scheme and ended up with a deep jewel purple to reflect passion, power and, honestly, just because I LOVE eggplant purple.

    Thanks for this post. It confirms that those ‘soft’ considerations in app development of color and visual identity are as important as the technical gears behind the screen.

    • Oh, I do not dispute their usefulness – I think they could definitely be a helpful tool. The problem, as I see it, is that it is not grown-up enough. The last time I saw some many flowers and pink on anything I owned was Halloween, when I dressed up as a fairy. And I still didn’t see that many flowers.

      I also hate the prevalence of smiley faces in so many of these applications, particularly to describe symptoms and moods. Again, mood swings can be a symptom of an oncoming period, I am a grown, literate woman; smilies and frownies make our moods seem illegitimate. (although smilies do have their place – see? :))

      However, your company has created an absolutely stellar app for menopause – maybe there is scope for a less horrifying period application?


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