In Poland, a fascinating phenomenon can be observed. Włosing (hair-ing; word game: włos = hair), as it is called, refers to conscious hair care. This trend has gained immense popularity, giving rise to a significant community of hair enthusiasts known as włosomaniacy/włosomaniaczki (hair maniacs), who meticulously select hair care products and take passionate care of their hair.
Within this community, the founder of HERI emerged with the idea of personalized hair care plans inside a mobile app to help hair maniacs elevate their hair care routines.
Like many of us during the COVID lockdown, Kasia had a lot of free time and even more ideas for spending it. She became interested in włosing and joined online communities of hair enthusiasts.
Soon Kasia made a few observations about the hair care community as she was hanging out on social media groups:
- High entry threshold for newcomers. Every newcomer must face an abundance of new information and unfamiliar terminology - hair pH balance, humectants, or emollients being only the most basic of them…
- Planning and documenting hair care routines. Some of the most advanced hair care enthusiasts recommend keeping diaries and documenting your hair care process. Kasia wondered: do all these hair enthusiasts really keep their hair care journals so diligently?
- Lack of personalized hair care plans. There are pre-made hair care plans, but they lack personalization. For example, no one could tell Kasia if she used too much of a particular product or offer guidance and tips.
When Kasia approached Pragmatic Coders, she was uncertain about the hair care market's potential and possible solutions. Together we went through three key phases to resolve her doubts. We began by conducting comprehensive UX research. Based on this valuable insight, we identified the key problem we aimed to solve and devised a solution.
In search of available solutions, we conducted a competitor analysis.
We discovered there were a few existing apps that focused on hair care. Still, they had poor design and relied on manual journaling (users had to manually input details such as shampoo usage, upload photos, and add products used).
Other applications offered somewhat personalized plans but were limited to products from a specific company—no freedom of choice. There were also PDF journals created by hair care influencers, but they, in turn, were very general, lacked personalization, and, most importantly, users had to print them out and take notes by hand.
To better understand hair care enthusiasts at various stages of expertise, we conducted UX research. Our goal was to identify their profiles, examine hair care routines, uncover challenges, prioritize needs, and select a fundamental problem to address. We researched three types of haircare enthusiasts: advanced (who have spent years taking conscious care of their hair, and their hair knowledge comes from scientific research), intermediate, and beginners (taking their first steps in the hair care world).
First, we conducted desk research and analyzed social media posts made by hair care enthusiasts and the different types of content shared by hair influencers. We also purchased and analyzed hair care plans from some of them.
In addition to the desk research, we conducted eight in-depth interviews. The outcomes of these interviews were surprising but also confirmed Kasia's initial assumptions.
- One unexpected finding was that despite the emphasis on journaling within the hair care community, very few individuals actually engaged in this practice. Those who engaged in journaling tended to do so primarily at the start of their hair care journey when their motivation was at its peak.
- Instead of relying on journals, hair care enthusiasts preferred a trial-and-error approach. They were more eager to experiment with different products and techniques until they found a satisfying routine. However, here another problem came up. Over time their hair porosity (how their hair looked and behaved) changed because of these new hair care habits. What once worked for them no longer did, necessitating a new care approach. Moreover, the trial-and-error process resulted in significant product waste as users often encountered ineffective shampoos or conditioners they would soon give up on.
- Another significant insight was that beginner hair care enthusiasts perceived a high barrier to entry into the world of hair care. They expressed confusion regarding what products to use, how to use them, in what quantity, and the appropriate order of application. Even experienced hair care enthusiasts acknowledged that reading product labels was still challenging.
- The concept of trust was paramount in their decision-making process. The interview participants emphasized that recommendations from individuals with similar hair types were essential for them when selecting hair care products.
Through extensive UX research, we gained key insights into the challenges faced by hair enthusiasts, both new and experienced. Armed with this knowledge, we could work towards developing a solution that addressed these critical issues and provided a seamless hair care experience for our target users.
Product Discovery Workshop
The purpose of the Product Discovery Workshop was to address these challenges and achieve the following objectives:
- Analyze the insights gathered during the research phase.
- Brainstorm and explore potential solutions to the identified problems.
- Outline a plan for testing the possible solutions.
- Define the MVP scope, focusing on developing a small-scale solution that would deliver value to users.
The solution we came up with was personalized hair care plans inside a mobile app. The app would rely on three elements:
An interactive quiz allows users to receive a personalized hair care plan. Through questions about their hair type, condition, and preferences, we create an individualized care plan tailored to their specific needs. Additionally, users can upload photos of their hair for more accurate results.
The hair care plan provides step-by-step instructions and video tutorials on the recommended washing routine. Users can also view the specific products they should use in each step. This ensures a comprehensive and practical hair care experience.
Hair enthusiasts can access a dedicated shelf showcasing a collection of products from their hair care plan. Additionally, they can read reviews from other users with similar hair types. This lets them decide better about the products that best suit their requirements.
Kasia is now equipped with the insights derived from thorough UX research, the HERI product concept defined during the Product Discovery Workshop, and a prototype that brings her vision to life.
Eager to delve deeper into the visual aspects of this project? Explore our Behance presentation.