Penelope Rance

My UX research & design ramblings

Garmin Menstrual Cycle Tracker

I use the Garmin Connect app to track all my activities. I have a Garmin Vivosmart HR+ which I wear all the time and I check the app at least once a day, keeping an eye on the splits for my runs, the number of steps I take and how it thinks I slept.

Recently they have added some extra features, things like a hydration tracker and a menstrual cycle tracker.

I tried both. I could not get on with the hydration tracker as I could not remember if I had logged the water I had drunk when I was sitting in meetings and did not have my phone with me.

I have kept the menstrual cycle tracker, but I have not really figured out what it is supposed to do for me. It might be helpful if I was looking to get pregnant, but it does not link to my runs to show me days where they might be harder than normal, it just sort of sits there. I know when to expect my period and when it will end so I am not really sure what the feature is for.

But I can add symptoms, for instance bloating, cramps or headaches which is sort of interesting, but not enough for me to really bother with.

screenshot from phone showing message saying 'Did your period start as predicted? Correcting your period dates helps us predict more accurately. Edit Period Yes'
A little pop up

Anyway, I clicked on to that feature by accident on the day my period was due to start. And a pop up came up. Had my period started today or did I need to edit my period?

Wow. So firstly periods do not start at exactly 8am on the day, they do what they want. How can I tell if it has started? I had no evidence yet.

I could not get out of this screen without clicking one of the options presented and yet neither of them did what I needed them to do.

What this pop up was missing was the option for ‘I don’t know yet’.

What if I had been coming in to log a symptom and could not answer that question? What if I just wanted to see where I was in the cycle.

Yes confirming if my period has started will make the data better, but what if I am late. What if I am still waiting for it to start, editing my period still will not help as I still do not know when it is going to start.

Being able to get out of this screen and continue with my journey means I can finish what I am trying to do. Let me change things later if needed.

It surprises me how many apps and websites force you to do things when you are trying to do something else (for instance updates), breaking your journey completely. This really is not helpful to anyone. You should always give people a ‘later’ option unless not doing that thing is going to put them in some sort of harm.

Yes it might be important from an application point of view, but the person using it will have other things on their mind. Help them to complete their task first then remind them you need them to do something.

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