Data-driven beauty

Data-driven beauty

User Research, Branding, Product Design

MiaMia is a data-driven platform that simplifies beauty through personalization. At BL3NDlabs, we partnered with MiaMia’s Founder and CEO to define the product strategy, build the experience, and design the brand. I was responsible for product and brand strategy, along with iOS, web design, and overall creative direction.

Beauty is personal and social.

In our research, we found the number of beauty/grooming choices overwhelms the average consumer. People rely on friends for recommendations along with a disjointed collection of blogs and social media, namely Instagram. People are craving personalization without the creepy feeling of being watched.

The Research Funnel

The Beauty Problem

  • The new face of beauty is diverse. Brands must be inclusive. The 90’s era supermodel is a relic of the past.
  • Retailers, brands, and most of all influencers are shaping demand while user-generated content drives virality.
  • Beauty e-tailers are better at selling than building a relationship with their customer. Established e-tailers rely on influencers to build these relationships and “speak to Millennials and Gen Z.”
  • 67% of survey respondents report using four or more websites to fulfill their beauty and personal care shopping needs.
  • While consumers are more and more discerning, social proof is the new standard. But, it can’t be fake.
MiaMia Pitch Deck
Slides from the pitch deck designed for MiaMia’s Founder.

Building a Minimum Lovable Product

I’m a huge believer in kicking off projects with a discovery workshop. The workshop is a custom set of exercises I write for every project. They’re designed to understand the problem we’re solving and work toward a solution hypothesis.

It’s about empathizing with our user, but it goes deeper. While defining our user, we dig into the business model and set broad goals for the product. All of this is done on a whiteboard (digital or IRL). It’s the fastest way to bring busy people together and record the strategy without being too precious. I’m really loving Miro lately for digitally capturing all of these exercises.

  • What does MiaMia do?
  • How? What’s the secret sauce?
  • Why? What purpose does it serve? Why should the user care?
  • Why does this matter as a business? How will we make money so we can sustain our team?
  • Map the customer journey/story
  • Identify primary user flows
  • Review competitive user experiences
  • Develop brand story
  • Sketch sitemap
  • Start job stories
  • Prioritize job stories
  • Start user roles
  • Create rough roadmap and define next steps
A workshop should never be looked at as the solution to all of a product business’ problems. Run from anyone who sells any other fancy form of design thinking as the solution to all your problems. The workshop is only the beginning.
Whiteboard shots
After the workshop, it’s important to translate whiteboard sketches to something digital and iterative.

User Persona
Though they’re a collective of user facets, personas should always be formed by research.
Job Stories
Job stories capture the user, the situation they’re in, what motivates them, and the intended outcome. This is the key to unlock what the product should empower the user to do.
iOS App Sitemap
iOS App Sitemap
For MiaMia, it made sense to quickly move to high fidelity wires after whiteboard sketches to save time.
Real, variable content during the wire phase is necessary to design a flexible interface.

Polishing the MLP

As we worked through design, we found onboarding was vital to serve the user with the results they want to see in the app. MiaMia asks optional questions based on how much makeup the user wears, their skin tone, age, and main beauty concerns.

These questions aren’t arbitrary. With them, MiaMia can tailor looks and products, making the app relevant to individual beauty needs. MiaMia’s onboarding maps back to the original goals from the workshop: one place for a seamless, curated, and personalized beauty adventure.

I was fortunate to discover Sara via an online Women in Tech group. I was blown away with her designs and work product. We video chatted and she quickly got my vision. I instantly knew that I found a partner in making MiaMia Beauty a reality. She is the perfect combo of creative (gorgeous design aesthetic), strategic, and tactical. Sara is the epitome of an executor and ensured that we met deadlines and deliverables, all while she worked remotely. I would highly recommend working with her and I hope that we can work together again.
Rita Ravindra, Founder & CEO, MiaMia Beauty

Style Guide
MiaMia is fierce but fun-loving. No stock illustration here, babe.

Iterate like you mean it

With our lean team, we built and prototyped in continuous cycles. Once we closed a research round, we evaluated the feedback for patterns. From there, we prioritized enhancements.

The most significant learning came from usability testing the Add a Look flow. Though the flow worked for most, some people were confused by the idea that they could “author” a Look on the app. Some test subjects thought they weren’t qualified enough to make those kinds of calls. We added helpful copy and tips to let users know exactly how their looks would be used.

Spot illustrations and copy help explain the Add a Look flow.

Research Methods

  • Card sort: navigation
  • In-person interviews: overall sentiment
  • Usability testing: onboarding, product discovery, sharing and look creation
  • Multi-variate and A/B Testing: value prop
Visual Design Screens
MiaMia Analytics

Give data, get value

We built MiaMia a back-end admin panel that allows for editorial control of the app, user-generated content moderation, and key data reporting. This quantitative data is incredibly valuable as MiaMia evolves.

Technology has changed almost every industry, but beauty is years behind. Because beauty is so personal, the power of MiaMia lies within the data. Understanding individual user needs, preferences, and influences will unlock key insights for brands wanting to connect with the modern user.

MiaMia goes beyond brand-directed beauty and empowers users to lead their beauty journey. Users saw the benefit of voluntarily giving data in exchange for time-saving, personal recommendations, and one place for their beauty needs.

MiaMia Admin
MiaMia was covered in InStyle, The Zoe Report, FabFitFun and more awesome beauty/lifestyle editorial pieces.
Numbers & Outcome
Get it girl gif
What I Did
  • UX/Product Strategy: Stakeholder/User Interviews, Third Party Research, Persona Development, Information Architecture, Card Sort, Job Stories, Usability Testing, Multi-variate and A/B Testing
  • Product Design: Wireframes, Visual Design, Prototyping, Motion Design, Design QA
  • Creative Direction: Brand Design, Campaign Strategy, Social Direction

Design Credits


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