UX / UI
NAPTURAL aims to improve the frustration, confusion, and isolation associated with afro hair.
This interface proposes a solution that helps users to build a positive relationship with their afro, as well as with the afro community.
Many afro haired individuals have no idea how to care for their hair.
Designing Naptural was a proposed solution to minimize the lack of knowledge and resources catered towards afro hair textures.
Lack of accessibility
Afro hair representation in North American advertising is minimal.
The majority of represented hair types, services, and advertised products are typically targeted towards Eurocentric, ‘1a to 3a’ hair textures - straighter hair follicles with straight, wavy, or loosely curled hair - whereas people under the ‘3b to 4c’ category (those with tighter, coarser, kinkier hair textures) often lack the same resources.
These resources may also include having fewer hair salons that cater to treating and styling afro hair, as well as fewer mainstream advertisements that promote afro hair products, and generally a significantly lower selection of hair products targeted towards afro hair in major retail establishments.
Ignorance around afro hair
Ignorance often results in a lack of appreciation and acceptance.
Ignorance about an aspect of one’s own self can result in feeling ostracized and isolated, which can result in lower self esteem overall.
Alongside this, lack of knowledge for visibly differing individuals may incite discrimination through xenophobic and racist attitudes. Black students in particular have been humiliated, shamed, and in some cases, even banned from institutions because of bias against natural, black, ‘afro’ hair.
I was inspired to design a solution that addresses the bigger issue of insufficient racial representation .
Relating to the issue personally, I reflected upon the many times my afro hair had broken the teeth of a comb, undergone chemical or heat induced straightening methods whilst attempting to ‘tame it’ to suit a Eurocentric depiction of ‘good hair’, the general confusion and frustration I had experienced when failing to understand why Eurocentric hair products didn’t work for my hair ... and the list goes on.
I realized that although I was a racial minority in most of my environments, it was highly unlikely that there wasn’t a community of individuals with similar shared experience regarding frustration, confusion, and isolation concerning their afro hair.
Curiosity led the pursuit of starting an open dialogue for other individuals who had similar experiences, and I conducted a public forum to gain insight on others experiences with afro hair.
Some common issues that came up included:
Shrinkage is ‘losing’ length and form due to the curls absorption of moisture.
Afro hair leans toward being dry due to its tight curl pattern that hinders natural oils from easily making their way down the hair shaft.
Lack of time & planning
Having high maintenance hair usually requires planning hairstyles & routine methods, which can be impacted by lifestyle, weather / climate, and finances. For afro hair, usually people need to preserve the moisture in their hair during the colder months (dryness in air can cause breakage), so protective styling - braiding, twisting, or any hairstyle that reduces exposure to the dry atmosphere (like a wig, for example) becomes a part of the routine. This method however, is often costly and /or time consuming. I quickly realized that whether it be treating it, styling it, washing it, or knowing what products afro hair needs...these were all seemingly simple tasks that us afro-haired peeps were constantly stressing over.
Lack of resources
Not understanding what afro hair needs; which stylists or what products can 'handle' afro hair.
Naptural allows users to ...
Track daily growth and condition of afro
With the 'daily hair-update' feature, users can input the current state of their hair, gaining a better understanding of their afro's current state.
Upon inputting a memo of products used, hairstyles tried, photo references, users may then reflect on the health of their hair within the selected time frame. This is a key feature for users, as it helps them to gain a deeper understanding of how they can improve their hair health!
Manage all hair related tasks efficiently
Users can feel like they're on top of their afro game by simply typing in and checking off any tasks that are related to maintaining their 'fro.
Get recommended hairstyles & products based on weather updates
Have you ever spent a while doing your hair, then gone outside just to have the weather completely ruin it? This weather feature guides users with hairstyles and products that help combat whatever the weather has planned for that day.
Post and discover new hairstyles, members, & tips
Users have access to an abundance of resources, and may discover and post new resources on the daily that are filtered to their hair type.
Connect with fellow afro community
Finding other people who share the same hair type and hair journey can be comforting to those struggling with accepting their hair. However, users can feel more connected to their afro family, sharing tips, insights, and support.