Work & Co built a chatbot that helps abortion seekers find care in a confusing landscape

‘Charley’ is designed to be a one-stop destination for people looking for guidance, information and options

Published On
Oct 04, 2023
Screenshot of the Charley chatbot

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After the fall of Roe v Wade last year, agency Work & Co began looking at ways to help abortion seekers find useful resources, especially those living in states with abortion restrictions. The result, which just rolled out, is Charley—a chatbot that’s free to use for anyone needing to navigate what’s become a fragmented, confusing and often dangerous landscape.

Work & Co analyzed online search behaviors of abortion seekers to develop the bot, then worked with reproductive health experts and abortion advocates, as well as doctors and lawyers, to build Charley into a one-stop destination for those seeking guidance, information and options about abortion services.

Early on, the agency tested concepts with more than 300 users from diverse backgrounds. This uncovered issues that were addressed in the final build—for example, they found that people were not aware that abortion pills are an option instead of traveling to an out-of-state clinic, so Charley educates users on both options—within gestational guidelines—letting the user decide for themselves.

After the concept phase, Work & Co built and launched the chatbot in about six months. 

Screenshots of the Charley chatbot

Plan C, I Need an A and M+A Hotline were among the partners who joined Work & Co’s weekly calls to review designs and provide input on the branch logic script. “By including the different perspectives early, we were able to build a much more thoughtful final solution,” Work & Co told Ad Age. 

The agency also utilized data from Guttmacher’s Abortion Policy API and INeedAnA’s database of abortion providers. The bot is free to use, and can also be embedded on partner websites to meet abortion seekers where they are. For example, Ms Magazine is already hosting Charley on its site.

Screenshots of the Charley chatbot

Two other critical elements in Charley’s development were security and medical review. The tool does not collect user data, as data tracking and privacy are top of mind for abortion seekers. Also, Work & Co partnered with medical advisors to ensure Charley’s guidance was both medically accurate and used language that empowered abortion seekers.

“Our focus at Work & Co is on finding solutions to the most complex problems—especially opportunities to find those solutions at scale, impacting lots of people. That extends our work across lots of industries, including health,” the agency told Ad Age. “In the case of Charley, there’s an urgent need, cutting across the whole country and so many different demographics, to offer facts and real-time information for those seeking abortion access and guidance.”

The agency added: “Charley is rooted in the idea that abortion access is healthcare versus a political issue. That tension is also why we were very intentional in building Charley to provides factual, medically vetted responses and all in a way that is non-judgmental.”

Credits

Date
Oct 04, 2023
Client :
Work & Co
Agency :
Work & Co

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