Unplugg: Search and Discovery

Product Design

Designing a personalized search and booking system for a marketplace of on-demand salon and spa services for a startup.

CLIENT  Unplugg 
ROLE  Design Lead
DATE  October 2016–November 2017
STATUS  Launched



Unplugg’s core offering is a sophisticated matching algorithm, meant to match time-poor customers with unused time in local salon and spas’ schedules. Knowing this, one of the biggest asks for the Unplugg MVP website was to create a way for the consumer users to search for the type of salon or spa appointment they want, and be served results that match with their needs: factors like location, time, distance, and personal preferences.


After understanding the Unplugg problem set, working closely with the founders, and doing preliminary focus group interviews and competitive research, I developed a proposed user flow  for Unplugg’s web experience which included the search/matching experience all the way through online booking and payment for an appointment. I also mapped out the matching logic which ranged on a continuum of five “match” levels, each of which would afford the user a more personalized results set of possible salon appointments.


Whiteboard sketching was a huge part of this process.  I worked closely with co-founder and head of product, Ms. Guzman, to rough out UX designs that satisfied her requirements and that would allow us to get the product working. Above, early whiteboard sketches of the searching experience.


We also developed a personality quiz, inspired by services like Thirdlove, M.M. Lafleur, and Ipsy, to find out users’ preferences for factors that go into the “Smart” match. All quiz questions are optional and able to be edited at any time, but users were directed into the quiz immediately upon sign-up.


Current iteration of the Profile quiz, branded the "SmartFit Profile". Users are dropped into this experience directly after signing up and choosing any membership options (a membership plan was added later after launch). Users can opt to fill out the profile right away or choose to come back later.


Mockups of the homepage search area at time of launch. We decided to make searching for a service the first call to action for a user. We also added quick links to popular services.


Search overlay on mobile.  The three-factor search scheme was inspired by products like Opentable, which need to make it easy for users to specify multiple facets of their search without feeling overwhelming. The first field served a dual purpose with the ability to search for a Service (which we defined on our back end as a quantified list of services our providers cover), search free text (for a specific service that we may not have in our back end), or for a specific Provider (which links directly to the Provider page). This search scheme did well in face-to-face user testing.


Search results page shows available appointments, ranked by distance and by best match to the user’s needs, as defined by the user in their SmartFit Profile. The user can also edit their match details by editing the “Smart Filters” on this page which tweak the Smart Match results.