Client: Sephora
Role: Sr Director of UX
Duration: 4 months

Sephora Color IQ – In Store Digital

Beauty chain Sephora, widely viewed as a disruptor when it comes to digital retailing, launched the Sephora Innovation Lab, a digital think tank of sorts that’s also designed to groom digital leaders within the company’s ranks. At the lab in the Dogpatch neighborhood of San Francisco, the product design team can ideate, test, dream, experiment and learn.

As new ideas emerge, the Lab team will be charged with sourcing, developing, evaluating, testing and eventually launching new offerings and technologies for shopping in the store and on the go.

My Role

I lead the Sephora design team.

  • We conducted usability testing in the Sephora sandbox with real customers in order to uncover existing pain points and validate our new designs.
  • After creating new user flows, we wired out the new IA and socialized it internally.
  • Once we had buy-in and sign-off from stakeholders and executives, we annotated the wires and created the visual user interface.
  • When the UI was finalized and signed-off on by the creative department, we created specifications documents which were included with the annotated wireframes and delivered in a hand-off meeting to the engineering team for implementation.
  • My team worked closely with product management and the business stakeholders to ensure that we were balancing user desires with business goals.
Project Management 64%
UI Design 85%
User Experience 96%
User Testing 52%

Color IQ – The Final Designs


Download the full case study

User Flow

  • Customer asks for ColorIQ
  • Clerk uses wand to take visual color samples
  • Wand matches skin color to palette of colors
  • Matching foundations load onto iPad screen
  • Clerk picks 3 to sample
  • Emails customer

User Testing

Usability testing with

  • customers in-store
  • use of the iPad Color IQ

Interviews & focus groups

  • journey-map the in-store purchase process
  • Email / web integration

Digital Lab

Redesign & Simplify


Initial Concept Planning

I implemented a process of ideation and brainstorming; ethnographies and user shadowing as part of the broader requirements gathering.

Design Iterations

I introduced the concept of design cycles and prototype iterations. Though Sephora works in a strict waterfall methodology, the design department is agile and iterative during the design cycles so what is handed off to development is already tested and refined.

Final Delivery

I established protocols and pattern libraries to use for the design documentation and handoff to engineering. This ensured that what the developers were given was consistent, clear and complete.

Strong Process

Though it may be counterintuitive, process is the key to creative thinking. When the design team understands the stages a design will travel as it is researched, ideated, conceptualized, tested and iterated, they are free to expand their creativity within those boundaries.

Excellent Results

The results of my efforts built a team of 7 designers who handle the entirety of the Sephora digital product design. The processes ensured effective ideation through delivery to engineering. It has ensured a world-wide brand is known for it’s digital forward thinking.