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Empowering young women to check their boobs with a new tool

Common worked with CoppaFeel! to design an engaging digital tool that increases young women’s confidence to check their boobs, empowers them to check regularly and enables them to identify the early signs and symptoms of breast cancer. Common took an evidence-based approach, steeped in behaviour change theory.


Framing Opportunity

Generating Ideas

Build & Test


November 2018 – September 2020


A topless person covering their breasts, with the text "2,467 people checked their boobs this week. Have you checked your boobs this week?".

The final design features a modern, colourful and relaxed look and feel, in keeping with the CoppaFeel! brand; digestible step by step guides that describe how to check and the signs and symptoms to look for; a reminder function and a 4-week getting started plan; recognition that anyone is best placed to check their own boobs (rather than a medical professional); the provision of trusted advice through GP and CoppaFeel! videos; peer-led videos to make checking feel ‘normal’ and relevant to young women; supportive tools such as a checking counter to encourage checking and show that others are doing it too; and a ‘Boobcheck Checklist’ for those new to checking.

A screenshot from the boob check checklist

Common initially designed two concepts for the tool. We tested these through face to face focus groups and pre and post surveys, with 18-24 year old, female, infrequent and non-checkers. After taking all feedback on board, we refined the design and functionality of the tool, to create a digital prototype. We then trialled the prototype over one month with another group of young women, checking in with them on a weekly basis through digital forms and an end of trial focus group. The findings from the trial have led to our final design of the tool.

The project evolved from previous work Common did with CoppaFeel! in 2018-19 in which we helped CoppaFeel! gain a deeper understanding of young women’s lives, habits, motivations and behaviours towards boob-checking, to identify opportunities for change. We did this through online focus groups with young women aged 15-29. We used online chat groups to provide anonymity and greater comfort in openly discussing the personal and potentially awkward subjects of bodies, boobs, boob-checking and breast cancer.

We then applied a service design lens to map out a Journey to Checking which identified a range of motivators and barriers to checking. A significant finding was that being aware of the need to check would not necessarily motivate someone to check, unless they knew what to do and had the confidence to do it. These results led to CoppaFeel’s request to build the digital tool.


Sharon Allen, Maisie Bowes, Paul David Price, Iria Lopez, Katherine Jennings


Behavioural science, Digital design, Research, Service design

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