How to Make a Period Tracker App We'd Actually Want to Use


Women are using period-tracking apps to keep track of their periods (as the name would indicate) — and the New York Times is on it. My original thought on the matter was, “Why would I need this? My body has a built-in period tracking app. It went off the other week when I cried at Prince William and Kate Middleton’s engagement photo — which was taken candidly, by a radiator, in the enduring glow of a tender and true love.” But then, reading more, I reconsidered my position.

At the Times, Jenna Wortham outlines the benefits of tracking one’s cycle digitally. In an era dominated by quantitative apps, she writes, “nothing has been as exciting or revealing as tracking my menstrual cycle.” Essentially, what a period-tracking app does is allow you to follow what’s going on in your own body — allowing you to “make informed choices about having sex (or avoiding it),” helping to plan pregnancies and allowing women to keep track of symptoms like mood fluctuations or headaches. All of this is totally useful and great and perfect for a lazy human, such as myself, who would like to get in touch with her own body in the way the requires the least amount of effort possible. You can do it while your Candy Crush lives recharge!

I am down with the period app. But also, being a millennial, I also know a thing or two about apps — while I agree that the technology is useful, I also recognize that it’s nothing to sext home about. Thus, here are some suggestions on how to make the genre really catch on:

Institute a rewards system

Visualizing your period in this way sort of turns it into the world’s worst advent calendar: for three weeks you receive nothing, and then you get discarded bits of uterine lining for seven days straight. Lame. Period apps should do this thing where they reward you for keeping track of your cycle by letting you unlock virtual prizes when you are menstruating. Here are some suggestions: any bit of media pertaining to a loving and enduring friendship between a teenager and a horse, an Enya music video, a .gif of elephants hugging, Justin Bieber’s mug shot with a wacky hat Photoshopped onto it.

Make it social

Apps are always haranguing me about how my distant Facebook friends have joined them; I cannot look at my phone without being alerted that a person I vaguely know has joined Venmo (which is a relief, because I like to know that every person I’ve ever met has the potential to cashlessly reimburse me for delivery nachos). So why is there no period tracking app that informs you when your friends and acquaintances have joined you in menstruation?

If this were to become a thing, you could unlock an achievement when your cycle syncs up with that of your best friend — which would be a beautiful celebration of the enduring bond of female friendship. While I’m not saying that this feature necessarily has to use the term “friendometrium,” I really don’t think that it would hurt.

Link it to Twitter and Facebook

People love doing things if they can passively post about them on social media afterwards; such is the case with run-tracking apps and FourSquare and what not. The period-tracking app of my dreams would let one check into her monthlies on Facebook (which, arguably, you already have the option of doing by listening to “Love Story” by Taylor Swift 14 times on Spotify, but whatever).

Sync it up with an astrological chart

I’m no Susan Miller, but I feel like it’s likely a big deal if your period starts on an eclipse. Just speculating here, but it probably means that you will be more easily able to access your inner reserves of feminine power and divinity. I think that women should be made aware when this happens.

Put a cat made out of tampons somewhere on its interface

Because, seriously, it would be a huge missed opportunity not to.

And there you have it, ladies. My conceptual magnum opus. If, one day, you overhear an extremely wealthy woman yelling, “If YOU had invented the
period tracker, you would’ve invented the period tracker!!!” at the
Winklevoss twins, you’ll know that it’s me.

Image via Willyam Bradberry/

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