In the summer of 2017, I interned at Viget, a full service digital agency. During my time there, I was able to not only design Ground Rules but also collaborate with Viget's copywriting intern to rebrand and redesign the website for a company of our choice. We chose Younique Cosmetics, a beauty company with a charity branch, Younique Foundation, dedicated to helping survivors of sexual assault. Younique's core mission is to "Uplift, Empower, and and Validate" consumers as well as sexual assault survivors.
Younique Cosmetics' brand suffered from customer distrust and miscommunication largely stemming from usability and transparency issues with their existing website, as well as a brand voice that was wholly disjointed between their e-commerce and nonprofit branches.
Refresh Younique's brand image and messaging and redesign their website to reduce the amount of time between users learning about and joining Younique's ambassador program, create a more seamless shopping experience, and promote the transparency of their mission to empower women.
Research and ideation
In order to better understand Younique's brand and usability challenges, we investigated public posts and reviews about the company, its products, and images, through a wide variety of social media and online beauty editorial sites. We also conducted usability tests of the website. Using our research, we developed a user persona for the core users of Younique's website, as well as their needs and challenges in using the current site.
With our core user identified, we delved deep into the current Younique website to identify UX and visual/branding challenges that would face users like Dana in exploring the site.
The current website faced opportunities for branding improvement on top of their current usability challenges. From a visual standpoint, the e-commerce and nonprofit websites looked like they were from two entirely different companies: Younique cosmetics featured dark colors, dense content layout, and profit-driven language, while the Younique foundation utilized a lighter palette, spacious organization, and messaging focused on recovery and support. Online research and user testing showed that this disconnect resulted in user distrust of BOTH the e-commerce and nonprofit branches of the company, since people didn't believe that they were part of the same company.
We saw opportunity to unite the two branches of Younique not only visually, but from a content and messaging standpoint as well, to help alleviate the issue of their perceived illegitimacy.
But how do you build a sense of trust and honesty in an industry that's traditionally been criticized for forcing beauty expectations in the name of profit? That was the main challenge we faced in crafting a new voice and image for Younique. Through extensive research and reflection, we realized that there were a few key methods we could use to tackle this issue and restore trust in potential consumers and sexual assault survivors alike:
1. Focus on authenticity by highlighting real stories of real survivors/consumers.
2. Unite both the ecommerce and nonprofit branches around Younique's core mission of "empowerment," and define empowerment in authentic terms that customers can relate to and be inspired by.
The core concept of empowerment felt like the direction to pursue, so we explored what that could mean in the context of Younique's customers and non-profit benefactors. We realized that empowerment ultimately happens through ownership -- and how better to own than to create?
Our rebrand strategy in a nutshell:
A Space to Create.
With this new brand strategy in hand, I set about designing a website experience that would solve the usability issues of the original site, as well as unite the Younique the nonprofit and Younique the cosmetics company behind an authentic voice.
Redesign and Prototyping
Website Redesign Usability Goals:
- Increase authenticity and build trust with users
- Encourage organic exploration of products and pages
- Connect Younique Cosmetics with the Younique Foundation and make the charity a more prominent portion of the e-commerce site
-Build transparency and trust in the Younique ambassador program
My first step in the redesign process was to reorganize the site map of Younique in order to eliminate redundancy, and create a more streamlined shopping experience.
To improve the visibility of Younique's nonprofit branch, I moved the nonprofit "about" page to the main navigation. I also condensed the information regarding Younique's brand "ambassador"/presenter program to the three main categories users wanted to learn about -- presenter program overview, rewards, and registration process. A condensed navigation in the footer allows key information regarding Younique's products, charity organization, and presenter program to be accessed at any time.
With a more condensed site map/UX in place, I set about wireframing.
Based on user feedback with lower-fidelity prototypes, I moved on to creating the higher fidelity mockups.
reflections and next steps
This was my first foray into working with a copywriter to not only redesign the visual brand, but also the content and overall brand strategy of a major beauty company. The challenges we faced in bringing together the brand and voice of both a business-oriented e-commerce organization with its philanthropic initiatives taught me the intricacies of designing for multi-faceted organizations. It was also a great opportunity for me to apply my illustration skills to web and layout design, something I found quite fun.
Moving forward, I'd like to continue usability testing of the website and fleshing out the full checkout experience for purchasing Younique cosmetics, continuously iterating to create the most transparent and streamlined shopping experience possible.