Healthcare Technology Powering Global Change

How a simple web based platform enabled a global information exchange for contraceptive research & development.

FHI 360 CTI Exchange mobile site

The Challenge

More than 220 million women living in developing countries want to control their fertility, but have limited access to effective contraceptive methods. With funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, FHI 360 launched a project to support development of an injectable contraceptive that would last for six months. This project is the first step toward bringing a game-changing injectable contraceptive to the market, expanding contraceptive access and choice for women around the world.

Their ability to make even the most typically dull technical information accessible and interactive is truly amazing.
Heather Vahdat, Director, FHI360, CTI Exchange
FHI 360

The Approach

FHI 360 partnered with Smashing Boxes to design and build the CTI Exchange, a web portal offering a convenient single point of access for individuals to find or share resources on contraceptive R&D. Besides providing a comprehensive resource library, the site houses Calliope, the Contraceptive Pipeline Database. Calliope includes information on more than 170 contraceptive products in various stages of development or offered in limited markets.

To deliver this product, Smashing Boxes used a dual-engagement, agile approach. During the first engagement, we worked closely with FHI to define features and requirements. With clear goals established, we developed the site index, user flows, user stories and wireframes. We also refined the design direction and created a technical plan. The second engagement involved developing and deploying the site, an endeavor that was completed in just eight weeks.

8 Weeks
Site designed, built and launched
R&D resources viewed

How We Did It

Product Strategy, UX, Design, Web Developement


From a wet lab in India to a manufacturing plant in China, the CTI Exchange site caters to a variety of users—many with inconsistent and unpredictable internet speeds, browsers and devices. Accessibility and ease of use would be key. Content needed to be presented in a way that was both visually engaging and efficient. By pushing the boundaries of what legacy browsers can do—like using animations to hint at user flow—we simplified a content-heavy site with intuitive visual interactions.

FHI 360 CTI Exchange desktop site
On all fronts we have simply been "wowed." The teams exude creativity, professionalism and a strong management style that is reflected in every fiber of their work. They are one of the best partners I have ever worked with.
Heather Vahdat, Director, FHI360, CTI Exchange

User Experience/User Interface Design

The CTI Exchange brings together a consortium of partners to generate and share resources globally. We identified six unique user groups who would benefit from information on the site. Groups included product developers, clinical researchers, manufacturers, distributors, procurement and service delivery. As the variety of users increases so does the need for an uncluttered and cohesive experience. Our design approach focused the user interaction on a simple search and directory feature. This allows any user to find what they are looking for within a few seconds of entering the site.

FHI 360

Web Development

A key objective of the project included selecting a Content Management System (CMS) that would allow non-technical administrators to update content. Additionally, the Contraceptive Pipeline Database, Calliope, would need to be integrated into the site. Our technical recommendation involved using Wordpress to save FHI 360 time and money. Tailoring an out-of-the-box solution, rather than building a backend from scratch, allowed us to have the project in the hands of users in only eight weeks.

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  • growth & product strategy
  • user experience
  • user interface design
  • web development

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