We researched current technologies in the makeup industry but sadly didn’t find any that are designed for people with visual impairments. In fact, none of the products we found support accessible features as simple as auditory feedback. We listed their main features to benchmark our future design.
Since video blog is a mainstream way to learn about makeup, we also researched makeup videos on Youtube. We found many makeup tutorials made by blind people, but didn’t see any intended to teach blind people.
To better empathize with people with visual impairments and prepare for future user interviews, we did role-play makeup sessions, which means we put on makeup with eyes closed. Each of us did two role-plays, one by ourselves, one following a youtube tutorial.
Controlling the amount of product and the position of the tools is unexpectedly hard.
Using bone structure as landmark to describe things is better.
Tips for applyng makeup with eyes closed is different and crucial.
We interviewed three individuals with different types of visual impairments (including blindness), and observed them doing their daily makeup routine or ask them to follow a tutorial if they don’t usually use makeup. See below our key insights:
1. Despite experience level, all interviewees desire feedback on how well they did.
2. Interviewees have special tips and tools based on their vision condition.
3. Interviewees can control tools and apply them at the right position easily.
4. Interviewees tends to stay with the same makeup style to guarantee the best quality.
5. Checking the makeup during the day is hard, that’s why I don’t wear makeup/salient color.
We looked through more than 100 makeup videos and articles and compiled a list of proper tips. We organized them into four categories: “For first-time users,” “How to apply,” “How to fix,” and “How to self-check.”
We summarized two primary personas. One is an experienced makeup user who needs help mainly for the final check; the other is a novice user who needs more guidance and tips.
For ideation, we used “walking the wall” method. Design ideas were then plotted on a cost/value matrix. See below our final decisions.
See below the selected 6 features:
With no experience designing an Alexa Skill, how can we quickly learn about the capabilities and limitations of this platform? I first looked into design guidelines and development documentations, and then designed and built a simple Alexa Skill. This hands-on experience helped me get to know the framework, useful resources, and best practices to design for it. I was also able to experiment the boundaries of its capabilities.
For prototyping the conversational UI, we started with a whiteboard, markers, and post-its, and then digitized them as a flow of intents with Tortu and Lucid Chart. We broke down the flow into several parts and designed anchors to link them. After finalizing the flow, we wrote example utterances with slots for each intent.
We want to be polite, we want to be helpful, and we want to guarantee discoverability of key features. However, these are not reasons for having overly verbose responses. Through “Wizard of Oz” testing, we made our responses more concise, and the dialogue flows simpler. See below some tips we concluded:
See below two examples:
Testing in the simulator reveals more detailed problems, even problems with the punctuations we used, because Alexa can only pronounce two punctuations (“,” and “.”). So question marks, dashes, and apostrophes needed to be replaced while remaining similar tones.
See below our technical solution framework and the computer vision solution.
Due to time and resouces constraints, we couldn't implement all our designs. See our final prototype showcasing several core functions.
We made a pitch at Alexa Day competition with a concept video and won 2nd awards 🏆! See below our concept video
As a first step towards accessible makeup for the visually impaired, our solution is still far from perfect. Future steps for this project can be: