Final Project: Consumer Awareness on Cosmetics — research

On the last class, we shared our mess map. When I saw ‘pink tax’ and ‘cruelty free’ on Jenny’s mess map, it aroused my interest. And I would love to collabrate with people to finish the final project, so we later discussed around this topic in separated group meeting on class. The concept, pink tax, is interesting and should be awared by female customers, but we thought of many products designed especially for women. And some features female customers care about indeed worth extra money, for example pretty package. So this is difficult to measure how to help female customers to avoid pink tax.

Then we talked about making process of products and ingredients of them which should be awared by customers. Especially during the pandemic, people want to know how and where products were produced to see if they are safe to buy. And many people need foods with natural gredients which are more healthier. We gave up this idea again after disscussing how to ensure porducers provide real information to us. Finally, we decided to help consumers to decide which cosmetics to buy. Since FDA would inspect ingredients of cosmetics before they have the permits to sell.

For the form of the product, Jenny said she preferred to make an App’s prototype in limited time. I agreed with this practical idea. To push the idea further, we thought plug-ins with browser might help.

I started with a Google doc after some research on animal testing in cosmetic industry, where we could collabrate on. At fisrt, I thought that we would narrow down our topic to animal testing, so the documentation I wrote is all around this. The first part is concept mapping. There are mainly four dimensions: for BEHAVIORAL and ATTITUDINAL, we want to design a tool to guide customers to be aware of cruelty free when they purchase products. and for TECHNOLOGICAL part, it could push producers and scientists to find alternative ways to manufacture cosmetics. Becuase when I did observational studies on online forums, where it is said that many companies were researching on different technological methods to avoid animal testing. And the last is ECOLOGICAL, to avoid animal testing could keep sustainability and harmony between animals and human beings. Stakeholders are EPA, FDA, customers and companies. And we found some examplars that we could refer to, such as honey, which is a browser plug-in to help customers find coupons while online shopping, and another two websites that include content propogandize no animal testing any more. Then we chose ovservational studies, user interviews and suveys as our research plan. The questions I drafted at first are also more about animal testing and ways of customers buying cosmetics.

On Friday, we had another Zoom meeting. Jenny said the project could include more than just cruelty free, such as natural ingredients and environmentally friendly. She recommended a website called EWG, where customers could find ingredients of cosmetics. And I thought of an App that I have used to check cosmetics’ ingredients. Unfortunately, the App did not have an English version. I should provide some screenshots and translate the main function to explain it more clearly. Then we added some researches and concepts to this documentation.

Jenny created a survey poll, and we started our research plan. Initially, we planned to interview five people. But when I set out to find volunteer interviewees, six of my friends are interested in this topic. So we might have about ten interviewees in the end. Though our questions for interview are similar to the survey poll, they are quite different: we could alternate sequence of questions due to interviewee’s answer, and when interviewees brought some fresh ideas, we could talk about it deeply. Also, in the interview, questions are open, which enables interviewees to answer more personal feelings. From responses and interview results now, more people are interested in ecological and ethical attributes of cosmetic companies, while a few of them thought natural ingredients or ecological efforts are just stunt for advertising. The survey is still continued, and we hope to make a product to facilitate customers’ purchasing and arouse their awareness of ecological and ethical cosmetics.