Accessibility in Femtech and sexual wellness

Patricia Cervantes
July 2023

Technology has revolutionised healthcare and wellbeing, and over the last decade a key part of this evolution has been the escalating growth and development of Femtech and sexual wellness products and services.

Designed to enable and empower in ways that previously did not exist, and thus create greater equities within health. However, as digital solutions become more nuanced in the ways they can help people, it’s essential to ensure that every offering proactively seeks to be as accessible as possible.

This involves accessibility thinking before, during, and after design, development, and launch. In this article we’ll cover ways to improve accessibility, and the difference it can have.

Accessible design for everyone

Accessibility in digital Femtech and sexual wellness products means creating solutions that are usable and understandable for individuals of different ages, abilities, and backgrounds.

This includes considering factors such as visual impairments, hearing impairments, motor disabilities, and cognitive limitations.

By incorporating accessible design principles from the start, companies can ensure that their products are inclusive and can be accessed by everyone. This not only benefits users with disabilities, but also enhances the overall user experience for everyone, by bringing greater clarity and simplicity to each product or service.

Empower users with disabilities

Sexual wellness is a fundamental aspect of human wellbeing, and it is crucial to ensure that individuals with disabilities have equal access to the tools and resources needed for their sexual health.

Femtech products and services can play a vital role in empowering individuals with disabilities to take control of their sexual wellness.

By incorporating accessibility features such as screen readers, alternative text descriptions, and adaptive interfaces, these products can provide individuals with disabilities the information and support they need to make informed decisions about their sexual health.

Breaking down stigmas and taboos

Accessibility in Femtech and sexual wellness also helps to break down societal stigmas surrounding sexual health. By providing accessible information, educational resources, and interactive tools, these products and services can promote open conversations and awareness about sexual wellness, which helps to normalise these needs for everyone.  

Accessibility design principles

Here are 4 key principles to consider to ensure accessibility within product design:


To ensure the user can identify content and interface elements by means of the senses. For many users, this means perceiving a system primarily visually, while for others it may be a matter of sound or touch.

Within digital health this means making it easier for users to see and hear content (including separating foreground from background etc.).


To ensure that a user can successfully use controls, buttons, navigation, and other interactive elements. For some users this means using assistive technology like voice recognition, keyboards, screen readers etc.

In digital health we can provide ways to help users navigate, find content, and determine where they are. In website accessibility this could include making all functionality available from a keyboard, for example.


Users should be able to comprehend the content presented to them, with a consistent presentation and format, predictable in its design and usage patterns, and appropriate to the audience in its voice and tone.


Content must be robust enough that it can be interpreted reliably by a wide variety of users, across all devices, from mobile, tablet, desktop, or other.

Tailoring solutions to diverse needs

One size does not fit all when it comes to Femtech or sexual wellness. Different individuals have unique needs and preferences. By designing accessible solutions that allow users to customise their experience and access the features that are most relevant to them can help to increase accessibility.

Customisation may include language preferences, font sizes, colour contrasts, and navigation options, among others.

User research is essential

In order to truly understand the diverse needs of users, applying accessible design principles alone is a good start, but not enough.

Accessibility means different things to different people. By identifying all types of users that your product or service may have, and talking to them through discovery interviews and workshops will allow you to understand individual barriers, needs and wants.

This offers key insights that go beyond guiding principles, that will allow you to make user-centred, insight-led decisions on how to make your product or service more accessible to all users, in the context of their needs.

Indeed there can be much more nuanced accessibility issues beyond digital access or ability and disability considerations, such as the need to involve Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), who face particular challenges when it comes to their healthcare. Due to intersectional circumstances, such as race, ethnicity, income, education and more. For example, some wearables that monitor heart rate have been shown to produce inaccuracies particularly for individuals with darker pigmentation, while health datasets interpreted by AI to make diagnostic suggestions often severely lack diverse representative historical data.  

User testing is essential

Part of user research is not only to understand the barriers and needs of users, but to design solutions around them, and test solutions with a diverse target audience, to ensure that the product or service is validated by them.

This helps to address access needs, also covering literacy, gender, socioeconomic, and background considerations that may come into play when target users are faced with new Femtech or sexual wellness service solutions.

Increasing accessibility in sexual health

In the discovery and design phases we carried out for Preventx (the largest provider of remote sexual health testing in the UK), for the new NHS hepatitis C national testing portal, we engaged with key risk groups to understand their accessibility needs.

By speaking with key risk groups we established accessibility needs and factored these into our service design approach. For example, one key risk group with higher susceptibility to hepatitis C was people from South Asia. As such we created an Urdu language version for this audience to ensure that non-native English speakers who needed to use the service would be able to.

We also used a specialist UX copywriter to simplify language to make the service as accessible as possible, and also to normalise testing, and the process, in order to encourage the use of the service.

Beyond this we worked to simplify the user journey as much as possible, removing the need for authentication, which was a barrier for some risk groups such as PWID (People Who Inject Drugs). And we simplified all elements, which tested extremely well with target user groups.

We also worked to be more inclusive by going beyond male and female identifiers within the service, to accommodate for non-binary, self-defined, and for those who prefer not to say.

Indeed, the creation of sexual health self-testing kits is a huge boost, as traditional sexual health services can suffer from worrying accessibility issues, from a lack of appointments available, inconvenient appointment times, the need to travel, and fears of, and experience of stigma, which you can find out more about here.  

As such, accessible, digital, remote services such as the hepatitis C self-testing portal, very much represent the future of sexual health and wellness accessibility and inclusivity.

Marginalised communities

In an excellent piece on Ayesha Amin, tech and gender activist, says that “most of the Femtech applications that exist right now benefit women who are from socially and economically privileged groups”.

For those who aren’t digitally literate or without sufficient income to pay for subscription-based apps, even these alternative forms of healthcare remain out of reach, which creates “a gap within a gap” for tech that is touted as accessible.

Ayesha is the founder of Baithak, with her latest project being an AI-powered voice assistant that will use WhatsApp to help educate young people on reproductive health issues in local languages in Pakistan.

This shows both the breadth of needs within accessibility across Femtech and sexual wellness, but also the opportunities, where new services, augmented by AI, can do more to help more people around the world.  

It also shows the benefits of free or freemium versions of digital health services for those who would not be able to afford them. Or for a subscription model, the potential to offer free access to key user groups (unemployed or low income etc.) that would benefit from the service, but would otherwise not be able to afford it.  

Legal and ethical standards

Creating accessible Femtech and sexual wellness solutions is not just a matter of goodwill, it’s also a legal and ethical obligation.

In many countries, there are legal requirements that mandate accessibility in digital services. For example in the UK, the accessibility principles listed above are applied to public sector platforms as part of the Accessibility Regulations 2018, while private services have to adhere to the Equality Act of 2010. While in the USA the guiding law is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

By complying with these standards, organisations and companies not only avoid legal consequences but also demonstrate a commitment to accessibility and social responsibility.

We can help

Incorporating accessibility into the design of digital Femtech and sexual wellness services is both a user need and an opportunity to create a more inclusive and equitable society.

By considering the diverse needs of all individuals, including those with low digital access or literacy, disabilities, or underrepresented biases, organisations can ensure that their solutions become more accessible, empowering more users to take control of their health and wellbeing.

As the field of Femtech continues to grow its imperative that accessibility is at the forefront of the discovery research and design that is applied to it, to ensure optimal outcomes for users.

At nuom we work with Femtech companies (such as our work on the Pausetrack menopause tracking app) and sexual health organisations such as Preventx, to provide the user research, testing, and service design necessary to improve accessibility for users.

If you would like to talk to us about how we can help please contact us at

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