Service Designer


Exploring the area of women's sexual health. Follow this blog for continued updates.


Name: Leila Byron
Nationality: USA/UK
Background: Fashion & Retail, Digital Design

I want my final project to:

reflect me and my beliefs. I am looking to use this time to work on a project I may not get the chance to work on in the future. I want to dig deeper into research and strategy methods and developing this skill set in not only a service design context but also within code and see how within the solution these can be applied. I want to combine some of my previous skills with some coding and electronics learnings.

I am interested in/Inspired by:

These gendered discrepancies in post-childbirth careers can be understood via a host of historical assumptions about mothers and fathers; masculine responsibility versus feminine pliability.

For my thesis, I will be looking at the future of women's sexual health - specifically within the domain of pregnancy and the psychological effects surrounding this life changing event, as well as how we can empower women using technology and design-led practices.

My interests are around the empowerment of women on a mass scale. Having lived in the UK, where psychological problems are often seen as taboo, and the USA where people are expected to pay for basic healthcare, let alone deal with unexpected health issues, this is a topic close to my heart. 

For these reasons, I am motivated to use technology for positive social impact - and more specifically to empower women and to challenge gender inequality. 

This project is relevant because:

it is me. I have been affected by the US health care system in a time of need being treated like cattle in a system that is not only incredibly non-personal and non-emotional but if you do not earn enough money there is no other option to be treated. Not only that but I also see myself having children at a time where I will be focused on my future career development and I want to investigate how the problems I have witnessed through my close family members and friends can be addressed. I think we are seeing more and more emphasize and reflection on gender inequality and I think this would be an interesting domain to research further in. I want to start challenging the taboos by using what I have learnt over the last few months to do so.

During my final project I would like to challenge myself in:

Skills in my comfort zone:

  • User Research & Communication: However I want to push this further and dig deeper into selecting and designing research tools specific to the subject matter.
  • Time Management
  • Organization and Scheduling
  • Synthesizing research into insights and challenges

Skills NOT in my comfort zone:

  • Coding: I want to use this time to further develop this skill and hopefully the solution will address the problem using some coding.
  • Research Methods & Framework: Designing new methods for this project and iterating them throughout the design process.
  • Visual Design: Develop and expand on this skill.

Related Projects

Technology and Mental Health
Ford Foundation
Out of the Blue
Let's meet your baby
Mind the Bump


Taking Denmark as a case study I will start the design process by going directly into the field and talking to women regarding their perception and challenges faced within sexual health. Getting to know them and their stories and to see how they differ from other stories in the UK and USA. 

I will mix the respondents to cover all areas I am interesting in exploring further; abortion and first-time mothers. I am imagining the solution to be within a service domain context with some heavy HCR techniques with hope to lead to the solution which will have some touch-points dedicated towards coding and electronics. 

I am interested in speaking to the following groups of people:
- Women with at least one child (and who can tailor their answers based on becoming a first-time mum)
- Women who have experienced abortion first-hand
- Women who know someone close to them who has experienced abortion

The general questions I would like to find out are the following:

  • The main pain points within the system for both first-time mothers/abortions.
  • Psychological effects that arose during that time and how the women feel looking back.
  • Timeline of emotions: how length of time affects emotions.
  • Where do they source necessary information from during this time, and at what point do they start the initial investigation.
  • Level of engagement for the current resources available.
  • Level of support received.
  • Why is there stigma around talking about struggles/maternal mental health.
  • What happened post-baby and returning to work? The struggles and taboos with working mothers.

My approach to receive the preliminary answers are through the following ways:
- Survey. To understand the general problem expressed by a group of people.
- Approaching children groups in Copenhagen to talk to first-time mothers. Guerrilla Research.
- Contacting clinics and support groups in Copenhagen to set up in-depth interviews.

Leila Byron