11 weeks (Jan 14 - April 7, 2020)
Samsung Product Innovation Team
User and market research
"We're facing a key demographic shift of rapidly aging populations in the Asia Pacific. By 2030, every 1 in 4 people will be over the age of 65. More than other generational silvers, baby boomers will enjoy more years of "feeling young" - living fruitful active years without illness - fueled by longer life expectancy and higher tech literacy.
However, the market is saturated with survival/maintenance solutions that is fixated on the elderly's growing disability (e.g. safer transport, bathing, feeding, and medication). There is a gap in solutions that help elders to truly 'thrive' - build emotional and physical resilience; continue to connect, explore, and find meaning in life."
Create a new home solution that empowers the elderly to thrive in the active years of their lives.
My class shared rising and emerging trends for inspiration. We then utilized affinity mapping to ideate for the elderly based on different categories from Samsung's Product Innovation Team. We did these two brainstorming exercises to:
Create a crowd pleaser - Ensure that our ideas correspond to what's popular throughout different generations
Pay special attention to the desires, difficulties, and needs of the elderly
Hair care is universal amongst all cultures and ages - it is a form of expression of self and a major factor in self-assurance. To consider how older and younger people consider hair, I interviewed people of different ages.
Why it's valued by older people:
As they age, problems such as hair loss, weakening of hair, and balding start to occur
Start putting more effort and money into maintaining their looks - healthy, full hair is a sign of youth
When they grow older and cannot maintain their hair by themselves (ex: self-dye hair at home, use heat products like curlers or straighteners), they still dedicate time to seek professionals or people who they trust to maintain their hair
For grey hairs, it is sometimes difficult to find a dye that matches correctly. They risk wasting products, money, and ruining their appearance because their hair is more fragile and grows slower
They fear experimenting with hair styles and dyes in fear that it will not suit them
Why it's valued by younger people:
Changing hairstyles is common, especially after or for a major life event (ex: breakup, graduation)
Since experimentation is common, hair is more prone to be brittle, dry, and unhealthy at younger ages
Most do not know which product(s) suit them best - it's a "trial and error" or based on recommendations from friends - they don't have money to waste on products that might not work for them
Professional hair care is a "splurge" but they are willing to spend this money sometimes because they value vanity
Currently, personalized self-care is also very popular. People enjoy buying products that they have a personal connection to because they feel that these products are specifically catered to their needs.
How do we create an in-home hair care solution that
improves hair health and offers hair styling advisory and communication aids that complement salons?
I first mapped out interactions which the user would focus on self-car and maintenance versus seeking professional help. I wanted to ensure confidence in the user that they will achieve the hair they want while opening up better communication between hair stylists and potential customers. This map defines the hair care and treatment process as an overall cycle.
On the "analyze" screen, users can track their hair health over time by selecting either the scalp or hair strand sections. Once a user has analyzed their hair using the smart hairbrush, the most recent scan results will appear. They can toggle information to learn more about different characteristics and what products or treatments are recommended for them.
On the "heal" screen, users can create a subscription package that can be delivered directly to them based on their hair analysis. The products first come in smaller sizes so the user can see if their hair health improves with its usage. If the results stay improved over time, the user has an option to select larger size options. Some products can also be directly attached to the smart hairbrush through a capsule inserted at the bottom (ex: protective hair sprays). Users can also view specific product information and application directions.
The "protect" screen ensures that the user will be confident in adopting a new look and feel safe receiving treatment options that are catered specifically for them. It increases transparency between stylists and customers so that stylists know about their customer's hair even before they go in for a consultation. On the other hand, their customers will leave the salon confident and satisfied with a hairstyle or treatment that suits them.
I chose colors that were reminiscent of both natural and chic characteristics. For the text, I chose friendly and easily readable sans serif fonts (Sofia and Proxima Nova), and paid attention to font size to make it accessible for the target audience (tech-savy boomers).
Improving Visual Design
After I had completed the project, I revisited my screens and implemented the new style guide in Adobe Xd. The new colors and typography made the visual design appear more friendly and appealing as a "crowd-pleaser" for a wide range of generations.
Physical Product Ideation
I created concepts for an in-home hair salon but faced the challenge of these products being possibly bulky or hard to implement into a living space.
After considering what ways to implement a product seamlessly into a user's self-care routine, I decided to focus on a smart hairbrush concept. I started ideating possible forms for the brush itself, a charging deck, and presentation for individual hair products.
I paid special attention to the ergonomics of the brush by studying the form of brush handles and any rotating mechanisms that are present in hair styling products.
In order to gauge feasibility, I researched existing technologies that I could possibly incorporate into my product. This included technologies such as color sensors, small yet detailed cameras, and advanced hair care/styling products (ex: brushes that spray hair products, styling wands with multiple attachments). I also researched existing products for smart hairbrushes and personalized hair care, which I found was an underdeveloped concept.
L'Oreal Smart Hairbrush ($200)
Provides insights on manageability, frizziness, dryness, split ends, breakage
Connects to a mobile app
Scores hair analysis results
Only offers solutions for L'Oreal and Kerastase products - limited collection
Does not offer resources for professional hair care
Does not measure scalp health
Prose hair products ($25+)
Users take a test to receive personalized hair products based on their hair type
Subscription-based hair product service
Users can pick and choose which products they want to receive based on personal taste or finances
Even though it is personalized, it is still a "trial and error" - there's no way to directly prove that hair is getting healthier
Quiz that users take is tailored to their hair, but results are also very generalized
Does not offer resources for professional hair care
Reflection and Future Steps
Through this project, I learned to consider a product's life cycle as an entire business model. Through a compelling story, I was able to prove the necessity of my product to Samsung's Product Innovation team. The freedom to explore a product concept without focusing too much on feasibility allowed me to dedicate most of my focus on the user journey and ensuring that my product is a worthwhile investment. Being able to work with Samsung's designers in the classroom is a great privilege, and I am so grateful to have had this opportunity abroad.