The process


When the project started, I was looking for what beauty care means to people and what the aspirations are for them. Through in-depth interviews and observation of their personal space, I learned about the bigger struggle they have in life. Concept of a smart mirror isn't new. In this project, I tried to find out what contents of a smart mirror could be meaningful and improve one's quality of life. I looked into how people interact with the mirror at what time of the day and tried to make the moment a little more special.  

The project was completed in two terms, Spring and Fall in 2016. In the first term, I focused on the research process, interviewing people and analyzing and narrowing down the thesis direction. When I started the project, I did not know what the final product was going to be. Defining the user needs and finding out the right business for them based on the insights and opportunities from research were part of the thesis process.  


Research Process

For the first term of thesis project, I focused on the research process of finding insights and opportunities based on the user interviews. My main interest was to find out what their challenges and aspirations were of the daily beauty care process. I Interviewed 14 women, aged between 25 to 35 from different regions, with different ethnic backgrounds, who were customary cosmetics users.

The interview was about their beauty care routines and the relationship with cosmetics. In this research, beauty care included skincare and makeup as well as hair and body care. The choice of subjects was free for each interviewee. Instruction given to the interviewees was to describe beauty care routine, in order to analyze the most stable patterns for each interviewee. 

Daily beauty care routine was mainly consist of skincare, makeup, and cleansing. Their routine was also divided into two phase: at home and out of home. Most of beauty care is practiced in private spaces like bathroom. Some use indirect care devices like air purifier, humidifier, plants, aroma and candles.

More than 124 keywords and sentences are generated and classified into seven different categories: reasons for doing, reasons for doing less, general practice, wishes, guilt, definition, and dislikes. Different motivations are observed for skincare and makeup. The ultimate goal of beauty care is staying young and healthy to have confidence and to give positive impression to others.


Findings & Changing perspective

The challenge my users were having was the gap between their aspirations and the real life. I found out that most of them have busy schedules and are dealing with the guilt that they don't take care of themselves enough. I decided to change my perspective from beauty care and look into their lifestyles and daily routines. How could I help them?



Providing space based platform

During the user research, I found out that a lot of things are happening in the same space. There are designated spots that people spend their time during beauty care. It's usually where the mirror exists in the house, or a designated area they placed it in. Everyone looks at a mirror at least once a day. How can I make that moment more meaningful?

The Market

Global smart mirror market revenue is expected to reach $864 Million by 2022. The market is anticipated to expand at annual growth rate of 10.7% over 2016-2022. North America has been estimated to be the largest market for the smart mirror in 2015. In term of volume, the market in North America is expected to exhibit the fastest grow of over 2016 to 2022.

Big players, such as Samsung and Panasonic, are looking into the smart mirror market. Nordstrom and Sephora recently showcased smart makeup mirror in their flagship stores.

How is Glow different?

Glow is focused on connecting the user's daily routines. Glow's target users are young professionals juggling multiple tasks in their busy lifestyles. From the user research, I learned that there were always gaps and cracks in their routines. When they are putting their makeup on the faces, they think about what to wear, what to bring to work and the presentation they have to deliver in the afternoon. Glow makes their lives a little bit easier and smoother by helping them like their personal assistant, with human like interactions using voice control. I closely researched each touch point when the users interact with the mirror and what the interactions were like.  


Getting into details

User research continued during prototyping in order to study the details of the user experience. I looked into the spaces and observed how people used or organized the space and asked why. I also recorded myself getting ready and took notes of unconscious actions during the process. User scenarios were created along with the research. The user scenarios included system diagrams and business opportunities. The scenario was re-edited until the final presentation.



The idea of smart mirror isn't new. There have been many DIY projects and exercises about smart mirrors. What makes Glow different are the details of the experience: for example, how lighting works, how user interacts with the mirror, and what features are provided in the mirror.  It was important to simulate working prototype as closely as possible with the concept. Every detail counted in the prototyping including finding the right ambient light and light transmittance of the mirror. Many rounds of testing and iterations were done to validate the concept.


User testing

I built a rapid prototype before working on the full size working prototype to test the concept. I used simple technology such as a two way mirror with tablet screen and a security camera. The prototype was rough, but it showed the concept of information on the screen and the features of the 360 camera. I set it up in my bedroom and used it for a week. I also asked other people to test it and got their feedback on it. Knowing the concept and becoming the user was a different experience.


User scenario

Recognizing "Me"
Glow uses facial recognition technology. When I approach to Glow, it automatically recognizes who I am and shows my personal setting such as my favorite ambient lighting. When my family member approaches, it also responds with their favorite setting. 


Be prepared while you are getting ready
Glow shows weather information and suggests what to wear and what I need to bring. Glow shows the daily schedule and reminds me of any important plans. Glows not only tells me the traffic info but also when to leave. Glow reserves Uber then shows me how much time I have until it arrives. Glow can prepare coffee with the linked smart kitchen system. With glow assistant I can plan and prepare better during the busy morning.



Dressing up for concert
Glow finds the concert hall lighting information from social media and match the light.  I don’t know what to wear for concert. Glow can show me dresses I wore in the past from my album. I can flip through the dresses or lay them out differently with gesture control. 



Preparing presentation
I have an important presentation with client.  I practice presentation with glow. Glow shows me the presenter’s note on my eye level and display presentation slide on the left and I can see myself presenting in 360 view. Once my practice is over I can review my recording with 360 view camera.



Message to loved ones
I record my video message for my Mom in Korea. Glow saves my message. When my Mom approaches to Glow, Glow says she’s got message from me then it plays my video message.


Final Presentation with Working Prototype

Working prototype was exhibited to show the concept for the final thesis presentation. The user scenario was played with the voice in the working prototype. The working prototype demonstrated the details of how users would interact with the actual product.