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At-Home HPV Test Kit


IDEO x Teal Health


Team: Industrial Designer, Design Researcher, Gynecologist, Mechanical Engineer, Prototyper  

Project Details: A 12-week professional project focused on designing the patient experience for an at-home Pap smear and HPV test kit


Traditionally, getting an HPV test meant a pap smear at the hospital, which can be uncomfortable, time-consuming, and costly without insurance.

Teal Health and our team have designed a at-home HPV test kit, allowing individuals to conduct the test in the privacy of their own homes. This kit simplifies a complex process, making it easy to use.

Our client initially focused on design, but we encouraged them to prioritize the patient's experience. This shift led to a complete rethinking of at-home HPV testing.

Thanks to this collaboration, Teal Health secured $8.8 million in seed funding from investors, highlighting the value of patient-centered, at-home healthcare solutions.


Current pap smear test device for the HPV test


How to use the device

Position yourself and insert the device into your body.

Make the slider up, toward your head. It will deploy the sponge. Then, rotate the slider with your thumb about five times. It'll collect the bad cells from the cervix.

Finally Retract the sponge and remove the device

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Tip's diameter is small enough not to intimidate. Size matters. The device has to enable a frictionless insertion, but also instill confidence in its use. The tip is soft and flexible and applied frictionless insertion material. We know the elements that are protecting the sponge will have first contact with the body. The design supports a soft interface, that won’t hurt. 

The tip has soft shapes even when deployed. The internal structure protects the sponge even during cell collection. The sponge is designed to expand. While the shaft is as thin as possible, the sponge expands to optimize cell collection. 

“It’s difficult to target the cervix, so I think you need to just fill the space as much as possible.” - Physician

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An angled tip ensures the sponge medium is positioned at the most optimal location to contact the transition zone of the cervix while limiting exposure to vaginal cells. This allows targeted sampling for both anteverted and retroverted uterine anatomy. 


Smart dial design enables one-handed use, considering the intended location of use. The utilization of a single hand is crucial for maintaining general patient stability and ensuring ease of use. It is also imperative for individuals who may not have a full range of motion. The criterion for single-handed operation has become essential for the concept. Among various interface options, the slider interface resonated most with patients and stood out as the clearest interaction, as it closely mimics the device's function. Consequently, we have emphasized the interaction area for our patients.

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The cutout in which the dial is nestled is designed for the comfort of your thumb. The slope at the top of the device provides patients with tactile feedback, indicating how far to slide the dial. The bottom is flattened to create stability when the device is placed on a counter.


Materials contribute significantly to the user interaction. The back of the handle is rubberized, ensuring a secure grip. A smooth material on the face facilitates frictionless sliding motion. The textured slider enhances patient control while rotating the dial. The chosen colors are carefully curated for a gender-neutral purpose and are slightly toned down to create a less intimidating sensation.

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We approached this challenge through a patient-centric lens. We conducted research with a focus on speaking to four Physicians and patients. In order to get rich stories, we designed research tools such as a user journey map exercise to help our participants prioritize important moments during at-home test. We also hosted co-creation sessions with physicians and patients and built a visual mock-up to prototype an improved journey with real patients.

We interviewed 4 physicians and 5 patients. Synthesizing the interviews, we could have 5 initial insights. We learned people seek to understand what HPV is and the need for cervical cancer screening; they would appreciate the extra guidance and education. People value inclusiveness and being represented by the brands they adopt. They want inclusion for themselves and for others who are usually overlooked. People want to feel like they are taking charge of their health. To create trust, you need to empower your users with choices. People are looking for an offering that lets them feel confident in the screening and results. The more we reduce the steps needed to do the test, the more confident our patients will feel. Like many aspects of women’s health, there are overwhelming amounts of cultural and societal stigma around cervical cancer. People seek emotional support.

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We created the research exercise with the renderings and prototypes to get feedback from the participants in our first and second round interviews. For creating rendering we hacked stuff and had prototypes explorations. Our research suggested a product requirement to build the next level of design. People like to have simple interaction outside with one hand, functioning that serves accuracy inside. Design shouldn't make user scared, it should familiar enough but looks trustworthy. People want to sense reassurance that I’m doing the right thing with physical guidance. For example, tactile feedback for the slider button, so the user knows the user released the sponge. However, people didn't prefer the camera option because they don’t want to see their vagina. 


We carefully designed our product to make sure that users could handle the product with one hand, even when they could not see the product directly. Designing the tip was challenging because it is inserted into the body to collect cells from the cervix. Our team designed the mechanism of the retraction and detraction of the sponge to ensure both user convenience and safety. We created design through making. I actively participated in the iterative prototyping process and suggested forms. To support the collaboration of our team, I created and managed the space for sharing daily prototypes to improve the efficiency of our working process. 

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