Hairstylists, in their very essence, are in the business of serving people and using their creative skills to create visually appealing work. They are often not experienced managers or tech-savvy, and some struggle setting up calendars, creating websites, and running marketing campaigns.
Because of this and the fact the beauty space is already filled with endless online booking systems and expensive tools with poor UX experiences, we were hesitant to build another booking tool. We wanted to create a more human and simple experience that positioned Hair to Chair as an innovator and thought leader in the space.
The big unknown was what exactly should the core value proposition of Hair to Chair be? We didn’t have an answer from the start but we knew that our path would begin with user experience research. The solution was an iterative and data-driven process that entailed two weeks of user research sprints, followed by two weeks of design and development.
Northpeak runs user research and design sprints similarly to how many Silicon Valley startups and venture arms like Google Ventures practice. We started by researching the hairstylist space using google and publicly available information. We also used paid tools and looked at competitor behavior and strategies. Next, and maybe most importantly, we conducted in-person interviews to better understand hairstylists’ problems, needs, and desires.
Understanding their problems was a must before thinking about a solution. Northpeak brought in Dr. Leo Hoar, a former Ohio State professor and UX research expert who’s worked with companies like Samsung and Beam Dental. We used our initial research to set up a study protocol with questions and assumptions that would help us uncover the insights needed to better serve user needs. After going through a few dry runs, it was time to recruit and schedule interviews with different cohorts of users.