Skincare Shopping for Glowstatic Glow Getters
To better understand what pain points and unmet needs for those who shop for skincare products online now, I decided to dive right into customer interviews.
The goals for my research process was the following:
I recruited 5 participants who shopped for a skincare product within the last month. In addition to learning about how they shopped for skincare products, I also asked about their experience shopping for a new skincare product -- what process they go through to select an item to try, their frustrations, and what factors they take into account. The following is a summary of their experiences:
Skin type and concerns
They usually buy all or most of their skincare online. 4 out of the 5 participants had sensitive combination skin and have struggled to figure out a skincare regimen that works for them Because of their sensitive skin, they are wary of trying new products, though they often want to. Although some of these sensitive skin types wanted to improve texture, they are very cautious about it and do a lot of research. The other participant used to struggle with acne but doesn’t so much anymore. But she is very interested in skincare and considers it a hobby.
Skincare research and resources
All the participants do some form of research before purchasing a product. Some are more thorough than others and some enjoy the process while others don’t. Several participants watch and subscribe to skin care gurus on youtube. Others don’t trust them and read blogs when trying to figure out if a product will work for their skin. Some participants don’t even trust the blogs and find all the information overwhelming so they either give up and stick to what they know or try to figure it out by trial and error. One participant doesn’t like having to do the research. So she goes to Sephora to ask an associate there but their advice is not helpful as they just tell her what is the most popular. Since she doesn’t like figuring it out herself too much, she enrolled in Curology but ultimately didn’t like the whole subscription thing.
One participant shops by active ingredients (as she self-educates herself on skincare regularly). She cares a lot about value and looks at the fluid ounce for the active ingredients and will purchase the product that is the best bargain. Because of this, she used to use the Ordinary but wasn’t entirely satisfied with it. So when she saw an ad for affordable skincare products, she tried Good Molecules and her skin loved it immediately. So she’s been switching over. Another participant looks specifically at Clean Beauty lists and stays away from specific ingredients (such as parabens, alcohol, synthetics and fragrance). Her interest in Clean Beauty stems from having to figure out what her skin is being sensitive to but now as overall skin health as well.
When shopping, they all liked having the ability to choose across brands and figure out what works best for them. All participants also curated their own regimen by trial and error. Other participants used Sephora’s best sellers list as a resource and selected products that have been used and rated highly amongst a large number of people. They search for products by best selling and top rated. Some participants did the same with Sokoglam but used other sites to shop for K-beauty items because they were cheaper on other sites. Some participants use Sephora’s reviews as a resource though they may buy directly from retail stores because they trust what other people say about it though some may be fake.
Overall, all the participants are interested in trying skincare trends and popular products but overall cost as well as not knowing how to use it and how their skin would react stops them. They are all interested in learning new ways to improve their skincare routine.
From my research, I noticed that there were some patterns amongst my participants. They were interested in trying new products but was held back by the price and also not knowing if the product will work well for their skin type and how it will work within their skincare routine as well as best practices. Also I noticed that participants who had skincare issues in the past were more interested in investing in skincare. So I created the persona, Jenna Collins.
Jenna is a sensible adventurer who loves exploring and trying new products. But often times, she gets overwhelmed when shopping for new skincare products. She can't seem to keep on track with all the skincare trends and, even if she wants to try the new "it" ingredient, she doesn't know how it works with the rest of the routine or how best to use it.
Jenna didn’t always have nice skin. During puberty, she struggled with acne and got into makeup to cover up her skin. She tried Proactiv and other brand regimens but didn’t like not being stuck to one brand. So she started doing her own research and figuring out what works for her through trial and error.
Though she loves trying new products, she hates how overwhelming it could be. She shops at Sephora but doesn’t like how they don’t offer much skincare expertise. She also doesn’t care for makeup as much as she did when she was younger. Now she is interested in investing more in self care and bringing out her inner glow.
From here, I listed out around 20 different "How Might We" statements to see how problems I can focus my efforts to tackle for the user. From this exercise, I decided to focus on the following 3 statements:
To expand on my thought process, I utilized the crazy 8 exercises to extract the nascent ideas that were forming in my head since the research phase.
(Each crazy 8 brainstorming session entailed of 5-minute intervals of potentially 8 sketches with an intentional break of 20-30 minutes. Although there were times I could not come up with 8 sketches, this exercise forced me to squeeze out ideas that I wasn't sure of.)
After going through 5 different rounds, I compiled my sketches and grouped them according to themes. Here are my sketches from these sessions:
For the Storyboarding phase, I utilized the Crazy 8 brainstorming exercise again and these were the storyboard sketches I produced:
While building out my wireframes, I looked at several different skincare mobile applications. For the shopping experience, I looked at Sephora and Ulta for design patterns that current skincare shopping customers are acquainted with. In addition to that, I also looked at several different skincare log applications. I noticed the Sephora had a skincare "Routine Builder" quiz to provide a curated recommended list of products to buy. But it was a one-time quiz and it did not give the user the ability to have multiple concerns and input products they are currently using. Also the results page was overwhelming with so many product suggestions that it did not seem helpful. There were a couple of routine log mobile applications but they were more for recording skincare every day. So I took elements of both to create my wireframes.
In addition to these main features, I wanted to include the ability for users to create lists of products they love, products that reacted with their skin, and products they've tried. Through these lists, the AI can figure out what ingredients users are sensitive to, share with others what's worked with their skin, and accurately suggest items that the user has not tried. (After testing the prototype, this seemed secondary so I focused on the Routine-Building aspect.)
I tested the low fidelity prototype on 3 participants. I had a bunch of ideas that didn’t come out as I had brainstormed earlier. So while testing these prototypes, I spoke to the participants about what their expectations were throughout the prototype. After running through the prototype the first time, I explained the variety of ideas that I had in mind during my brainstorming sessions and while I was creating the prototype for more feedback.
When I was creating my wireframes, I had a bunch of different ideas floating around in my head that I wanted to integrate into my design. Testing the low-fidelity prototype was very helpful in helping me to hone my ideas and focus on the important aspects.
For this project, we were given the option to choose our own topic to exercise solving an existing problem as well as create a brand. While I was brainstorming what project to work on, I had recently shopped for skincare. I had replenished a few items but also I was looking to expand my repertoire with new products. After narrowing down the items I was interested, I went down a rabbit hole of researching information and trying to figure out what works best for my routine. It was quite overwhelming and an investment of time because I didn't mind spending money on good products but didn't want to waste money and time picking the wrong product.
So with this in mind, I decided to do my last Designlab project on skincare shopping. After brainstorming names to call the brand, which included Glow Morning, Golden Ritual, and Dewy System, I decided to name the brand Glowtastic. I knew I wanted something with radiating beauty, feeling fantastic and fresh. So I decided on vibrant fresh colors and photography to match.
Glow-tine is the name that I developed for Glowtastic's Routine-Managing Feature. With this feature, users can manage their previous purchases and their routines, as well as quickly browse recommendations and services provided by Glowtastic.
The "Your Previous Purchases" Panel only appears when the user has new products that have not been managed. To "Manage" previous purchases, the user can click on the purchase to provide feedback if they liked the item or not. From there, they can decide to integrate it into one of their Routines, rate the purchase, and/or organize it into a list for personal/public reference. (These lists can be shared with friends, publicly to the community, or just for personal knowledge.)
This screen will show the current routines. In the "View All" option, they can make new routines, switch routines, consult an Esthetician, and/or share the routine with friends/community.
The Routine Builder compiles data for the Glow-tine feature. So the more the user uses it, the more personalized the feature becomes for the user. Each Routine has a day, night, and weekly aspect. Users can customize their settings for suggestions in their profile settings.
The Routine Builder is an accordion screen, which on default shows the minimized view. Users can expand each section to add/modify a product or shop through recommendations. The user will be prompted 1 - 2 Glow-tine Tips. The Glow-tine Tips will make a simplified suggestion. Upon clicking on the suggestion, the user will be directed to a blog with more information.
The expanded portion of each step will give the user the option to shop for a new product with "Top Picks" for the user or they can manually input or modify the current product underneath.
The Glow-tine Feature will provide specific recommendations for the type of product the user is shopping something new for. These recommendations will be based on the user's setting in their profile that includes skin type, areas of concern, products they've already used, and level of skincare knowledge.
The first panel will show skincare information to educate the consumer to learn more about why Glow-tine made these recommendations. Underneath, the recommendations page will show products that Glow-tine has curated as "Top Picks" and underneath, the user can shop for more specific areas of concern.
While creating the high-fidelity prototype, I made sure to make adjustments to the wireframes based on the feedback that I received during the low-fidelity prototype usability test. Participants all felt a blog format of information was overwhelming. So I created preview graphic panels for the user to view and click when interested in learning more.
I tested the high fidelity prototype on 4 participants. Two of the participants saw the prototype for the first time as they did not participate in the low fidelity prototype test. The task for this prototype was to shop for a new serum for the current evening routine. Everyone was able to complete the task. There were some points where the participants took some time or clicked on other things but were still able to figure it out without guidance.
For my revisions, I developed the brand's presence in the visual graphics. The participants enjoyed the graphics for the Routine Builder and a few participants had mentioned how they'd like to see more of that in the other screens (fun graphic elements and more distinct brand development). Also I focused each screen to have more of a visual focus on its core function. For the Glow-tine screen, it did not seem like managing previous purchases was as important as the Routines. When creating the first high-fidelity prototype, I thought a preview of the products in the Routine will be helpful. But since participants found it distracting and hard to recognize, I eliminated it and branded each routine. In addition to this, I added a fun visual to support the brand and the Glow-tine feature.
For the Routine Builder, I made small adjustments. I changed the Routine Builder background color to correspond with its color in the Glow-tine screen. In addition to that, a few participants were confused at what arrow button to choose. After testing the prototype, I realized that there were too many arrows and the tips are a secondary function. So I made the accordion arrow more prominent with the routine brand color and I took the side arrow in the Glow-tine Tip.
Participants also thought that the educational process was nice but when they are shopping for a new product, they want to look around first and then narrow down their selection with some education. So I eliminated the skincare information panels and focused on the curated product recommendations and if they want to learn more, they can click on the banner on top. From there, they can quickly access Glowtastic's in-store services (booking a facial or a consultation with an Esthetician). Underneath, they can access the skincare information to learn more about why these recommendations were made.
Like the Recommendations page, I made similar changes to the Ingredient Highlights Screen. When the user wants to learn more about it, they will be provided a results listing with products containing that ingredient. At the top of the screen, the user will have a "Learn more" banner that will led them to more information. From here, they can click and return back to the product listing page. In the previous prototype, a few participants skipped over "Shop Products". So I branded it with the Glowtastic main brand color so that the user can easily find it.
With these revisions, I would want to test out the revised user flow and test if it makes more sense for the participants. In addition to that, I would want to see what other developments I would need to make for Glow-tine Routine Building Feature to be shipped as a Minimum Viable Product. Given the time constraints placed on the project, I focused on the core aspects. When creating my wireframes, I created a user flow that included managing previous purchases. But this was essentially a different user flow and I felt like I need to test out the core user flow first - shopping for a new product using the Routine Building Feature. But because of this, I created the wireframes for managing previous purchases. So after testing to see if this revised prototype addresses the core function of the Routine Builder, I will want to create a high fidelity prototype for those wireframes and test that user flow.
This was my last Designlab project. It was fun to create a feature that didn't exist and branding for a new type of skincare shopping experience company.