pineapl: build your own private infertility support network
the peer-matching and social media app that gives control back to the infertility community
pineapl: build your own private infertility support network
the peer-matching and social media app that gives control back to the infertility community
It's exhausting, stressful, heartbreaking, isolating and infuriating. It's shit.
But you know what makes it even worse? Not having people around you who get it.
Today, the infertility community is attempting to leverage various online platforms to connect. But the bottom line is, they're not built for these kinds of conversations. They're not private enough, not customisable enough, and they don't let users take control.
The infertility community deserves something better. So, we're building pineapl...
pineapl is a peer-matching and social media app that's being purpose-built for the infertility community. Our goal is to pick up where all other social platforms fall short for infertility support, and enable users to custom build the kind of network that they need.
Created by an 'ethics-first' team, led by a fellow infertility warrior, pineapl intends to:
- help users find others who are faced with similar infertility challenges, and
- provide a safe, private, and user-controlled space for people to connect, share, vent and communicate—one that's completely separate from their personal social lives
We understand how shitty infertility is, so we're on a mission to make it suck a little bit less.
smart peer-matching will let pineapl users find others who are faced with similar challenges, so that they can connect with those who truly understand what they're going through. Users will be matched with one another based on infertility cause, journey type, journey stage, treatment type, location, etc.
hide pregnancy-related posts
hide pregnancy-related posts is a profile setting that allows users to opt out of seeing pregnancy-related content in their updates. This allows users to protect their own emotions and stay connected with those in their 'circle' who have become pregnant. pineapl requires users to indicate whether or not their updates contain pregnancy-related content before posting. If it does, anyone who has opted out will not see these posts.
avoid sensitive content/triggers
pineapl's sensitivity shield will help users avoid sensitive content / triggers, which means they don't have to worry about stumbling across a post that sparks a negative emotional reaction (e.g. posts featuring bodily fluids, discussing pregnancy loss or still birth, etc). Before posting, pineapl requires users to indicate whether or not their updates contain triggers or intimate content. If they do, posts will appear in-feed covered by a sensitivity shield, which requires users to take an additional action of consent to view.
custom build a support circle
Custom building a support 'circle' means that pineapl users will be able to create an intimate network of their choice—big or small. Instead of relying on a moderator to control who has access to their updates, users decide for themselves who sees their posts and personal content.
private message peers
89% of pineapl survey respondents loved the idea of being able to private message their peers and engage in one-to-one discussions. So, in addition to being able to participate openly in their personal 'circle', pineapl will offer direct messaging.
a safe, members only community
pineapl will be a safe, members-only community, which means there is no chance of accidental visibility to friends, family and co-workers. Similarly, it means that users will be safe from internet trolls, who participate in forums, or join existing online support groups, to cause upset and wreak havoc.
For many of those facing infertility, talking to others who can truly relate to what they're going through is cathartic. However, while today's online platforms have opened the doors for people to have these kinds of discussions online, there remain a number of significant pitfalls to using them.
lack of privacy
Platforms such as Facebook & Instagram can accidentally reveal information about a person's journey to their friends, family, or even co-workers. For example, closed Facebook groups are often ‘suggested’ to friends as groups they may also like to be a part of because they know somebody who is a member. This sparks questions from peers who can see that their friend or relative belongs to an infertility support group, which they may not have otherwise known about.
Current online platforms don't help individuals find peers facing similar infertility challenges. In order to find others, users must:
- dig through social feeds, hashtags or comments for those who have openly discussed their own infertility journey
- interact or post on public forums in the hopes that someone in a similar position will reach out to them
These options simply aren't good enough.
Current platforms use algorithms that frequently mistake infertile individuals as people 'interested in parenting' or 'family', thereby serving them with upsetting sponsored posts and advertisements about pregnancy, babies etc. These can be extremely distressing to see during a time when emotions are running high.
weak community control
Posting messages in groups and forums means that anyone who's joined that network can see the post. This includes people with conflicting personal views, values and opinions, people facing completely different circumstances, and sadly, sometimes even internet trolls. These kinds of networks lack individual user control and instead rely on moderators to make all of the judgement calls. This means that users don't get the kind of personal, individualised support experience that they need.
inadequate emotional protection
On current platforms, users must end 'friendships' altogether, or remove themselves from groups or forums, in order to protect themselves from content they do not wish to see (e.g. pregnancy announcements and updates, images with sensitive or 'TMI' content, etc.). This means that unless users are in a place where they are comfortable seeing such updates, they lose out on the opportunity to build lasting relationships with people who can offer some of the best support available to them.
Users will create a pineapl account and will be given access to a free 7-day trial.
They will then be guided to answer pineapl's core questions. The answers to these questions will enable the app to find peer matches for the user.
Users will then be presented with the basic profile information of others who are good matches for them. Matches will be based on things such as infertility cause, journey type, treatment type, treatment stage, and location. The app will also cover surrogacy, adoption and living childfree (voluntarily and involuntarily).
After swiping through the list of matches, users will be encouraged to submit a connection request to at least one other person. This will be done by sending them an invitation, which they can read and decide to either accept or deny.
Once a new user has reached out to at least one other person, they will then be able to explore the rest of the app. This means they can:
- complete their own infertility 'journey' information
- find more matches
- post updates and questions to their 'circle'
- interact with other peoples' posts
- send direct messages to people in their 'circle'
Help us reach our funding goal by selecting one of the following rewards and pledging above. Alternatively, you can make a pledge without choosing a reward to help us bring pineapl to life.
In order to maintain the integrity of the community—one that's comprised of genuine users who are there to give and receive support—pineapl will be available to members only. After a free 7-day trial of the platform, users can select one of the following membership options to fit their budget:
Our online following proves that we are the right people to be building this platform. There is a certain way to speak—and not to speak—to the infertility community, and we understand that...
We also understand that what impacts one person, may not impact another, and so we're constantly reaching out to the community to have them weigh in...
We've harvested these insights, as well as our first-hand knowledge of infertility, to build a space that not only works right, but feels right too...
We are hyper-aware that the data and conversations shared on pineapl will be of a highly sensitive nature. To help ensure our users' information is kept private and is used only in the way they've permitted it to be used, we are taking the following steps:
- pineapl will not be connected to, nor share any data with, third-party social networks
- user passwords will be required to adhere to strict guidelines
- browser-to-server encryption will be in place (HTTPS)
- user data hosted on our servers will be encrypted
- other than for web analytics, requests sent to third-party services will be sent from our servers, rather than from the browser, to protect user privacy
- pineapl will undergo both authenticated and un-authenticated penetration testing by a CREST approved provider, to simulate a real-world cyber attack, ensuring that we identify and resolve any security risks prior to launch
- a designated data protection officer (DPO) who is a certified EU general data protection regulation (GDPR) practitioner, will work closely with pineapl to continue to ensure data protection remains at the forefront of our business decisions and operations
pineapl is being built as a progressive web application (PWA) instead of a native application. Once released, it will be available for use on all major devices (mobile, tablet, desktop) and operating systems (iOS, Android, etc.).
Those who wish to join pineapl, will do so through our website, where they will also install the application to their device—instead of downloading it from an app store.
Why a PWA instead of a native application?
- it costs less to develop and enables us to release to a wider audience, faster, as we don't have to build unique apps for specific devices and operating systems (like native apps)
- it's secure, as it will be served over HTTPS (like websites do when you share banking details with e-commerce sites online), which allows for browser-to-server encryption
- we can respond to user demand quickly because we do not have to wait on a third-party approval process (Google Play, App Store, etc.) to release app updates
- updates are fast and happen 'on-use' of the application (like a website does), which means users do not have to install updates before launching the application
- it occupies significantly less space on a user's device than a native application
pineapl is the vision of co-founders, Kristen Adamson and Karla Alexander.
Kristen knew from a young age what she wanted to achieve in life: to be a mother and a business owner. What she didn’t know is how tough the road to get there would be.
At the tender age of 19, Kristen began experiencing menopausal symptoms. Soon after, she was diagnosed with premature ovarian failure (POF) and told she cannot conceive naturally. Years later, Kristen began the arduous process of donor egg IVF, using her sister's eggs. But nine weeks into her pregnancy, she miscarried.
Like many people facing infertility and pregnancy loss, Kristen found herself turning to social media for support. However, she quickly recognised that although she was comfortable with being raw and public about her experiences, there were many hurdles faced by those seeking support who wanted to keep their journey more private.
Now, following the safe delivery of twin boys in April 2018, and a successful career in marketing, leading teams and driving large-scale projects through to completion, Kristen is able to turn what she has learnt on her journey into a solution that gives control back to the infertility community.
Returning from Hustle Con 2017 in San Francisco and inspired to enter into the tech space after hearing a number of female founders in the industry speak, Karla approached co-founder Kristen Adamson to spitball some start-up ideas. It was that same evening, after a few cocktails and some updates on Kristen's donor egg IVF progress, that the first discussions surrounding pineapl began.
Karla is an award-winning creative and brand visionary, with a passion for telling stories, designing functional digital spaces, and building unique brand experiences that resonate with people. Her hunger to build something that is not only beautiful and impactful, but also serves a need and solves a problem, is truly paralleled by her desire to make a positive difference in the infertility community.
While she hasn't experienced infertility herself, that hasn't stopped her from trying to understand what the community goes through and could benefit from. Karla believes in ethical design, that is centred around privacy, security and usability. She wants to deliver a platform that users can feel good about using, because our online lives are just as important as our offline ones.
An extension of us...
We could not have gotten to where we are today without the help of some very skilled volunteers and freelancers (and supportive spouses).
- Dave Felton, Useful Digital LTD
- Rebecca Appleton, Dakota Digital LTD
- Bronwen Lane, Little Train PR & Marketing
- Laura Kalbag, Ind.ie
- Sarah Attia
- Niamh Hickey
- Vanessa Kerr
- Melissa Hernandez
pineapl needs £30,000 to cover app development, testing (both user and cyber security), legal fees, compliance fees and Kickstarter's fees.
The division of funds is as follows:
By the end of July 2019, pineapl will be almost completely designed. However, before we can make the app available for install, we still need to smash a few crucial milestones. The funds we raise on Kickstarter will be instrumental in helping us deliver the app to time:
**Note: visuals and screenshots of pineapl app are subject to change prior to launch**
Risks and challenges
As with any start up, there are some risks and challenges to be aware of. Our primary challenges include: people power, user unfamiliarity with PWAs, and data security maintenance.
Firstly, people power is currently a big challenge for us. While we've achieved a lot already as a small team, we are aware that we will require more support as we evolve. In order to reduce the impact that this challenge may have on us, we've already enlisted the help of both freelance workers and volunteers who truly believe in the need to bring pineapl to the infertility community. This has greatly increased our speed and efficiency as a business. Provided we are able to greatly exceed our campaign goal, we plan to bring on additional support on a more permanent basis as well.
Secondly, as pineapl is being built as a progressive web application (PWA) instead of a native application, we are mindful that users may initially feel uncertain by the technology. Specifically, when it comes to installing the application to their device. Until PWAs become more commonplace (which is already happening now with players like Twitter, Uber, Tinder & Forbes adopting them), we plan to put an emphasis on educating our users about them. This means including additional information during user acquisition to overcome any additional friction we may experience. This information will ensure users understand how to access the app, why it's not in the app store, and why it's ultimately better for them to be using a PWA instead of a native application.
Lastly, as with any social network, app or platform which has access to user data, there is the challenge of maintaining data security. As mentioned above (see security & privacy section), we are taking numerous steps to this mitigate risk.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)