Understanding User Beauty Preferences
Glamsquad is an on-demand in-home beauty startup. They provide services such as blowouts, manicures, pedicures, and makeup in the comfort of your home. I interned at Glamsquad during the summer of 2018 as the Product Design Intern, working on their consumer app as well as their professional app. This internship was a part of the NEA Next program, the VC firm’s summer fellowship program where interns are placed at NEA portfolio companies.
One of the two projects I worked on at Glamsquad was spearheading the redesign process of the consumer app’s beauty profile feature. The beauty profile is our users’ hub for their style and personal preferences. As Glamsquad is a very personal service, going into the homes of our users to make them feel beautiful and empowered, the beauty profile carries a lot of the responsibility to help us inform our pros about their client and create a memorable experience. Throughout the redesign, the team and I dedicated a lot of our time on user research to truly understand our users before creating multiple prototypes and testing them. Our process and findings are highlighted below.
How can we allow users to better customize their Glamsquad experience? How can we improving our matching algorithm to align users with the right pros for them?
Problem with Status Quo
Only 13% of our users completed the beauty profile
Of surveyed top users, 4/7 (57%) were aware of the beauty profile and 3/4 (75%) completed the beauty profile
However, of surveyed new users, only 2/12 (16%) were aware of the beauty profile and 0/2 (0%) completed the beauty profile
The core idea was that if we were able to properly gather important user preferences, data, and personal information, we’d be able to curated those details into useful insights for our beauty professionals. They will then be able to provide our users with a memorable, personalized experience. This along with a better matching algorithm will help improve the Glamsquad as a beauty service and a trusted partner in our user’s life.
Our process was very research focused as we wanted to spend a lot of time truly understanding our users and their preferences. After doing some competitive analysis and interviewing our users, I designed a few concepts for each beauty question we planned on asking. We then presented these prototypes in front of users to do user testing and capture their reactions. After we gathered our users feedback, I then followed up with a second iteration of design which I presented to the entire company as the insights we learned and the new direction our beauty profile was headed.
For the research phase, we originally wanted to interview users and non-Glamsquad users in person in the office. However, due to the tight timeline of my internship and the difficulties in recruiting users and non-users who fit our demographic to come into the office, we decided to conduct surveys instead. We sent out a total of 3 surveys with similar but tweaked questions to our top users (50 users who used Glamsquad the most across all our markets, hand picked by our customer experience manager), new users (users who joined in the past 3 months and booked at least one appointment), and non-users (recruited by asking all Glamsquad employees to refer their friends and family that aren’t users but fit our demographic). The diagram above illustrates the turnout for each survey.
From our surveys, we identified the main takeaways shown above. Our users are very visual: 71% of our top users show photos to communicate their desired look to beauty professionals. Our users also want style advices and inspirations from the beauty professionals. They trust our pros to give them suggestions and guidance when it comes to personal beauty. Celebrities and influencers are also a major source of inspiration for our users. They want us to ask them who their style icon and celebrity aspiration is. With this research in mind, I then set out to create concept experiences asking beauty questions in the form of prototypes.
First Iterations and Solutions
Since the beauty profile is very focused on questions, we decided to design for 6 different questions and conduct user testing on them. For user testing, we would present the user with a number of prototypes asking the same question but with different ways to answer. With their input, we then polished each experience to create a final design.
Question 1: How would you describe your beauty style? - First Iterations
Question 1: How would you describe your beauty style? - Final Design
Question 2: Are there any beauty products or tools we should stay away from? - First Iterations
Question 2: Are there any beauty products or tools we should stay away from? - Final Design
Question 3: How would you describe your hair length? - First Iterations
Question 3: How would you describe your hair length? - Final Design
Question 4: How would you describe your skin tone? - First Iterations
Question 4: How would you describe your skin tone? - Final Design
Question 5: What is your preferred nail shape? - First Iterations
Question 5: What is your preferred nail shape? - Final Design
Question 6: Would you wear these nail trends? - First Iterations
Question 6: Would you wear these nail trends? - Final Outcome
From this round of iteration, we learned that it is important to understand how our users prefer to answer these highly personal questions. While some questions are meant to be answered visually others are more fitting being text based or a combination of both. At the same time, interactive questions are fun for users and interesting but not always appropriate. Some questions, however, like the nail trend question weren’t necessary at all. They only caused users to be confused. As this point was the end of my internship, I wasn’t able to continue on and shape the entire beauty profile experience. But from this experience, we learned that more research and design is needed to continue to develop the beauty profile and truly create a more personalized and customizable Glamsquad experience.
Interning at Glamsquad reminded me of my passion for startups and the excitement of working at a small but fast-pace, nimble environment. I really enjoyed the projects I got to work on. I also learned a lot about project timeline and the importance of project management this time around as we faced a lot of huddles in the beginning when recruiting users for interviews. This resulted in a lot of delays and push backs in our timeline. The entire project became a lot more rushed as I tried to stick to the original process and finish the required steps.
Now I understand that when conducting user interviews the recruitment process can be very tricky and time consuming. It will also require cross team collaboration as I had to work with marketing and then customer experience to recruit users. I also got to interact a lot with the growth team and understand how we track our KPIs and numbers as well as how we conduct live AB testings, which I found very fascinating. Overall, Glamsquad was a great experience. As a part of the NEA Next fellowship, I got to meet with a number of NEA VCs and entrepreneurs while working at an exciting startup.