How might we find an experienced hairdresser in the Greater Vancouver area in Canada for individuals with East Asian hair types and face shapes so that the individuals feel confident and satisfied with their new haircut that best complements their hair type and face shape?
Our hair “plays a crucial role in defining our social identity” (LinkedIn). It explains why people spend an average of $198 per year on haircuts to shape their hair to complement their appearance, empower their confidence, and help them feel part of their community (Yahoo! Finance).
Having the guidance to learn the best way to get your haircut based on your hair type and preferred hairstyles requires skilled hairdressers to lead the way. How do people find a hairdresser in their city to help them determine how to cut their hair for their hair type and preferred hairstyle?
The customer segment focuses on tech-savvy individuals between the ages of 18 to 35 who mainly rely on online searches and struggle to find a hairdresser who specializes in hairstyles for East Asian hair types and face shapes within the Greater Vancouver area of Canada.
With guidance from an experienced and professional hairdresser, individuals can feel satisfied when paying a minimum of $30 to $50 for unsatisfying haircuts.
The goal of the user research is to understand people’s experiences in finding their ideal hairdresser who can shape their hair based on the individual’s specific hair type or preferred hairstyle. For the initial user research, I focused on validating and invalidating to gather feedback from the primary target audience’s pain points.
User Pain Points
The primary user pain points to learn more about focused on the following:
- How to know what and where to search for an experienced hairdresser in the user’s city, town, or at a convenient and accessible location;
- How to learn about a hairdresser’s style to determine if they can meet the user’s needs based on their hair type, face shape, and hairstyle preference; and
- What other factors would influence the user’s experience to feel confident and satisfied with paying at least $30 to $50 CAD per hair appointment?
From creating a survey (https://forms.gle/UnY27WJhJ4ZskSNf6) to screen for the primary target audience and conducting user interviews, I gathered the following data-supported insights about the primary target audience with East Asian hair types and face shapes, and are located in the Greater Vancouver area of Canada.
- 52% of survey data revealed users’ past visits to the hair salon were unsatisfying because the hairdresser lacked experience with their hair type;
- 80% of user interviewees prefer to have good, open communication with a patient, professional hairdresser who cares about the customer’s hair and is recommended to a customer by their friend, someone they trust;
- 80% of user interviewees want to see good online reviews and specialization in East Asian hairstyles before booking with that new hairdresser; and
- 60% of user interviewees search for a hairdresser’s portfolio on social media platforms like Instagram and the hair salon’s website to review past similar haircuts and inspiration for East Asian haircuts.
The overarching themes I observed from the survey data and user interviews were finding information about the hairdresser in an accessible way as everyone used slightly different tools to support their extensive search, identifying overlooked pain points about the interaction and communication with hairdressers, and how might hairdressers improve to lead to a “good” hair appointment.
Landing on the Solution
The solution to explore this problem is creating a web application for users to review the profiles of the hairdressers at the salons in their city and filter their searches by the specializations for various hair types, hairstyles, and face shapes.
Explanation of Solution
Users can then make an appointment with the hairdresser they want to pursue directly within the web-based software app and get updates about the salon, directions to the salon, and share their reviews about their hair appointment all in one place.
By having one central platform to complete their journey, users are less likely to abandon their original task and are more likely to find and schedule a quality hair appointment with someone they align with.
Within Co.Lab, I planned the milestones for completing the initial design process in creating personas, user journey maps, affinity maps, and low to medium-fidelity wireframes to begin testing the usability of the application. This phase would also allow the development team to collaborate with designers about the feasibility of the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) to ensure we work as lean as possible given the project’s resources.
Although I have created a brief outline of the project milestones and timeline for this project, I would revise my initial plan as I meet with a design, development, and quality assurance team in addition to business stakeholders about the future of My Next Haircut beyond the Co.Lab skills training experience.
Product Manager Learnings:
Throughout this project, I learned and further developed my interpersonal and technical skills as the primary product manager for My Next Haircut.
I perceived this project as an opportunity to practice my user research skills in gathering and analyzing data, empathize with the users regarding their pain points by spending more time defining the problem space before thinking about a solution, and question everything to understand my peer and mentor feedback to consider perspectives I had not considered until now while expanding my domain knowledge.