Interview with Doug Stone – Healthy Teen Crush App

thumb_crushWhat is the project?

Crush is a smart phone mobile app that contains medically accurate and comprehensive sexual health information for the prevention of teen pregnancy. It has multiple interactive features including a version available in Spanish. It contains topics and interactive tools and is visually appealing and engaging. Crush is designed to increase awareness and educate so that young women can make more informed decisions.

Who is the project for?

Crush was developed for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (NCCDPHP). It was designed to appeal to girls ages 15-17 years old – those with the highest rate of teen pregnancy. Our target audience for this initial version was African American and Latino girls and one of our main goals with the app was to make information more convenient and easily accessible.

How is it delivered?

The app was delivered on multiple smartphone platforms and devices but also works on desktop browsers. There are two ways to create an app – there is a web-based app reached by a url, and a market app that would be bought and downloaded – accessed locally on your device. We decided that it should be web-based for a few reasons: teens change phones a lot, web apps don’t require updates, and a url lets girls share the app via social network so it can grow and become more viral in its delivery.

Is there anything innovative about the project?

Crush is much more than an app. The concept of having unlimited and discreet access to sexual health information that is engaging and empowering at your fingertips, no matter which device is sort of novel. The app is not just information but tests the users knowledge and contains interactive activities to keep the user engaged.

What type of challenges were there in creating this project?HT_2

The largest challenge was coming up with the app name. Even through a focus group, it was a difficult app to name. We came up with a list of 40 names and it took weeks to decide. There were also so many logo designs. That was an unexpected challenge. Another large obstacle to overcome was working with the screen size of an app verses the desktop computer. The approach to design for developing on a smart phone screen comes down to mathematics. Further, iOS and Android offered different challenges. The Android OS offers so many variation of phones – they are not standardized unlike iOS devices where the user experience is controlled by Apple. It was easier to problem-solve the iOS platform. From a QA standpoint there were a lot of variables on the Android side to work through and overcome. We had to make sure everything functioned properly on all devices.

Other information 

The apps purposes are to advance the prevention of teen pregnancy and to disseminate medically accurate and comprehensive sexual health information and tools. The app is also designed to assist teen girls in visiting health clinics for contraception counseling and adhere to contraception use.

MetaMedia worked along with Healthy Teen Network (HTN), a non-profit partner to develop this project. MetaMedia led the technical development, graphic development, and programming team.

Team Effort

The project was led by Douglas Stone, Vice President of Program Development and Principle Investigator.The MetaMedia team consisted of computer programmers, graphic designers, video and audio producers, and marketing professionals. The Healthy Teen Network effort was led by Dr. Genevieve Martinez-Garcia, Senior Researcher and co-principal investigator of the project. The HTN team consisted of sexual health educators, clinicians, marketing and health communication specialists. Other consultants included Advocates for Youth, Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Campaign of North Carolina, Answer, Baltimore City Health Department, and Mi Espacio (Latino Youth advisory group).

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