Our mission was to build a virtual assistant for stylists and hair care professionals.
We were approached to develop a proof-of-concept booking and publicity engine for stylists. We started by weeding through piles of notes that the client had gathered on the features he wanted and helped to refine and drop many of them – overloading a new product with features can increase the learning curve for users and limit its success. We also discussed the look of the app at length, suggesting best approaches to bring the client’s vision to life within a usable framework and with a modern appeal.
The fully automated system would manage bookings, maintain an address book of clients, handle communications between stylists and clients and notify of new appointments and cancellations. Although complex and powerful, the finished product needed to remain highly user-friendly and straightforward, yet be visually rich enough to entice our style-conscious audience.
Few stylists work 9 to 5. We needed to allow for a fluid schedule for each weekday within an intuitive interface.
Converting the day-to-day activities of a human being into an automated process that can take over something as crucial as their livelihood is a delicate matter. We wanted to make sure we could give the stylists maximum control over their books while allowing the system to run smoothly when left on its own.
Flexibility and usability can run counter to one-another. For a seemingly simple thing like entering a stylists’ schedule or managing their list of services we ran into some unexpected things.
In order to appeal to a broad spectrum of users, we built in a maximum amount of convenience.
The system sends notifications and accepts cancellations via sms, allowing the stylist the freedom to log in as rarely as once a week while still maintaining control of their book.
We also built in the capability for a stylist to book appointments for clients who aren’t registered with the system.
We worked with the client in creating a personality to act as the face of the virtual assistant we were building. Her name? Baby.
Baby functions as the literal face of the system, complete with a unique voice (and a slight Russian accent), a singular fashion sense, and mysterious otherworldly origins. This gave us a friendly, approachable voice through which we could instruct our users in the proper use of the application without disrupting their experience.
In addition to paring down and streamlining features, we also continuously refined and focused the identity of the app, carving out a visual style and color palette that were both accessible and modern. Simple visual cues like using a specific color to represent the voice of Baby help us lead the user along.
A strong working relationship with the client allowed us to collaborate on all points and maintain a constant flow of ideas. Taking full advantage of the client’s expertise in the field was crucial to the success of the project.
The product received an investment offer within two months of launch.
Stylist usage post launch has resulted in a significant upswing in bookings, a more streamlined work schedule, huge savings in time spent talking on the phone with clients, and, most importantly, increased customer satisfaction.
"From our initial meeting, we knew we had landed a team that could breathe life into Baby. They’ve proven more than the ability to simply execute, their passion for this project resulted in a finished product that has far surpassed the original idea. It’s pretty simple really, Novahurst nailed it."- Founder, Book Me BabyView more on this project in our portfolio, or contact us to see how we can help you achieve similar results.