The Lowdown is a contraception review, advice, and prescription platform that’s on a mission to change women’s health.
Alice Pelton started The Lowdown in 2019 because she realised she couldn’t find useful data on other women’s experiences with contraception.
The Lowdown allows users to read reviews from other users who have used various methods of contraception and specific products. You can also compare different types of contraceptives and schedule online consultations with medical health professionals on The Lowdown. Aside from that, The Lowdown makes it simple to order your birth control pill, patch, or injection.
In July 2022 The Lowdown announced that has closed a $2.5 million seed round to supercharge its community-centered female health platform.
Since closing that seed round of investment, The Lowdown has continued with its mission – changing women’s health. We at Tilde Loop have been their partners on this journey since April 2021.
In the past two years of collaboration, a lot of changes have happened and The Lowdown grew significantly and added a lot of new features to enable users to access the information they need as quickly and easily as possible to make informed decisions about their reproductive health.
More than 150,000 women visit The Lowdown every month.
Women's needs are priority
Everything we created in collaboration with The Lowdown was designed with the user in mind. The Lowdown team continues to listen to women’s reproductive health needs, and we are here to help them make it happen in the shortest amount of time while working flawlessly.
The ability to create a user account is one of the main features we build on the website. We’ve added user profiles, which allow users to keep track of all their reviews, orders, and appointments in one place.
Users can ask questions they have about experiences of others with a certain contraceptive method.
One of The Lowdown website’s first features was reviews of various contraception methods, brands, and products. These candid reviews were essential in establishing The Lowdown community.
There are now over 5,000 of them, and users can sort them by rating, method, brand, reviewer age, time they were used for, and side effects, or search them by review text. This method of searching allows them to find experiences that are most relevant to them.
The Lowdown provides an overview of all current contraception methods.
Users can see all important information about a method by clicking on it – basic information about the method, ingredients, alternatives, FAQs about the method (answered by professionals), reviews, and side effects.
Users can view these details for a general contraception method (for example, “combined pill”) or a specific product (for example, “Yasmin pill”).
For women who are unsure about which method of contraception is best for them or who require professional assistance with other aspects of their health, The Lowdown offers online consultations with experts. There are appointments available with women’s health doctors, a sex and intimacy coach, and a pelvic health physiotherapist.
In addition to all information about contraceptive methods, The Lowdown website allows you to order prescription pills, patches, injections, or rings, as well as the morning after pill and supplements that The Lowdown woman’s health doctors most frequently recommend to their patients.
Users can also subscribe to or purchase a single item. The Lowdown offers three, six, and twelve month subscriptions, so users never have to worry about running out.
A number of tools are also available on The Lowdown website to make reproductive health care more accessible.
A contraception recommender allows women to select the best method for them. The quiz contains questions about the user’s preferences and medical history. Based on those responses, the tool can recommend the best product for each user’s health condition and lifestyle.
This tool compares two contraceptives, providing essential information about each as well as side effects and benefits.
Missed pill calculator
Most pill users have forgotten or skipped at least one pill. Because these are hormonal contraceptives, forgetting to take the pill can have different consequences depending on where you are in your cycle. They also differ depending on the type of pill. In the UK, most women seek advice from their GP in this situation. Women and their doctors can now use The Lowdown, an FSRH-endorsed tool, to determine whether they should use emergency or additional contraception.
When we first began working with The Lowdown, it was a small WordPress site for leaving reviews.Our first task was to analyse the existing software and decide on how to proceed with the development. The main goal was to improve the existing features and build new features without affecting the current users. We aim to release the new version of the software as soon as it’s ready and we need the software architecture and tools that enable us to do it. We decided to use microservices and designed the architecture as follows:
Microservices are small autonomous services that work together. Every service is designed around a business domain and has specific responsibilities. We implemented them with Node.js. The goal is to make them do one thing, and do it well. We keep them small so that they’re easy to maintain. All services are mutually independent and autonomous. It enables us to change the service and deploy it without a need for changing any other service or consumer in our system. This architecture allows us to scale the software seamlessly. We can create more instances of all services or just some of them, depending on the needs.
Moreover, we can always decrease the number of instances of the same service and potentially reduce the cost of running the software. It’s of the utmost importance to create reliable software. For that reason, we implemented unit tests for all services and decoupled the deployment from the release. There are different environments where we deploy our software and test it. It’s released as soon as we’re happy with the changes we made. To simplify the whole process, we defined CI/CD pipelines for each application in our system.
Customer reviews are stored in OpenSearch. It’s a data store and search engine that’s enabling users to secure, search, aggregate, view, and analyze reviews. Our platform is designed to scale horizontally across multiple nodes, allowing it to handle large amounts of data and high query volumes.
We decided to build our frontend using React and Next.js. Our focus was on minimising page load time and improving the user experience.
Next.js is a framework built on top of React.js that provides additional features and optimizations for building server-side rendered React applications. It allows us to create statically generated or server-side rendered React applications with ease
Here are some technical details about why we decided to use React.js and Next.js for the frontend of our project:
Fast page load time and performance: Next.js provides server-side rendering capabilities, which means that the initial page load is faster as the server sends the rendered HTML to the client. This leads to a better user experience and improved search engine optimization.
Search Engine Optimisation: Next.js generates static HTML files for each page, which improves SEO by making it easier for search engines to crawl and index the site.
Reusability: React.js allows us to create reusable UI components that can be used throughout the application. This makes it easier to maintain and scale the application when new features are added.
Development speed: React.js and Next.js both have a large ecosystem of libraries and tools, which makes development faster and more efficient.