This study aimed to enhance the playlist management experience on the Spotify mobile app for premium members in order to increase user satisfaction and promote app usage and recommendations. By identifying pain points and improving user engagement and retention, the goal is to create a seamless and enjoyable playlist creation and management process.

Project Curology Sign up Flow



In this comprehensive UX design case study, we dive deep into the transformative journey of Curology's desktop website, with a primary focus on refining the sign-up process. Curology, a renowned skincare brand offering personalized solutions, faces the challenge of attracting and retaining customers in a dynamic market, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. To thrive ethically and sustainably, Curology must prioritize user trust and transparency while avoiding dark UX patterns. By enhancing user experience, clarifying the brand's unique value proposition, ensuring accessibility, and simplifying subscription cost presentation, this project aims to strengthen Curology's position as a trusted skincare partner in a discerning consumer environment.

Problem Statement

Curology, a skincare brand committed to personalized solutions, has been at the forefront of redefining skincare routines. Offering a tailored skin quiz that determines the ideal solution for individual skincare concerns, Curology delivers a trial shipment tailored to the user's unique needs. However, in a rapidly evolving market, Curology faces the challenge of adapting its business strategy to thrive amidst the changing landscape, especially given the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Attracting and retaining customers has become crucial for Curology's sustainability, but in today's discerning consumer environment, users demand transparency and trust-building. Maintaining an ethical approach is not just a moral imperative but also a strategic necessity.

To safeguard its reputation, establish lasting trust with users, and provide an honest and transparent user experience, Curology must steer clear of dark UX patterns. Dark patterns, often associated with subscription services, can lead to detrimental consequences, including negative reviews, legal repercussions, and a tarnished brand image. This UX design case study focuses on enhancing the usability of Curology's desktop website, with a primary focus on optimizing the sign-up process. The overarching goal is to empower users by improving their comprehension of Curology's unique value proposition and business model, ensuring accessibility for all users, and simplifying the presentation of subscription costs to build trust and credibility with our audience.

Users & Audience

Curology's desktop website caters primarily to young adults seeking customized skincare solutions through telemedicine, specifically those dealing with acne or anti-aging skin concerns who have internet access. However, it is essential for minors to obtain parental consent before using the service, as they cannot legally give consent for medical treatment. Obtaining informed consent from a parent or guardian is essential for providing teledermatology services to minors.

Defining the pain points

User Flow: Curology Subscription Sign-Up
  1. Landing Page

    • User visits the Curology website or opens the Curology app.

    • They are introduced to Curology's skincare services and the benefits of subscribing.

  2. Sign-Up / Log-In

    • New users click on "Sign Up," while existing users log in.

    • New users are prompted to create an account by providing their email and creating a password.

  3. Skincare Assessment

    • New users are guided through a skincare assessment questionnaire.

    • They answer questions about their skin type, skin goals, and current skincare routine.

    • Based on their answers, Curology recommends a customized skincare formula.

  4. Subscription Selection

    • Users are presented with different subscription plans.

    • They choose a subscription plan that suits their preferences (e.g., monthly or quarterly).

  5. Payment Information

    • Users enter their payment information (credit card details).

    • They may have the option to apply a promo code or discount if applicable.

  6. Shipping Details

    • Users provide their shipping address where they want their Curology skincare products delivered.

  7. Review & Confirm

    • Users review their subscription details, including the selected plan, payment information, and shipping address.

    • They confirm that all information is accurate.

  8. Order Confirmation

    • After confirmation, users receive an order confirmation message.

    • They are informed about the estimated delivery date and any additional details.

  9. Welcome and Onboarding

    • New users receive a welcome email with instructions on how to use their Curology products.

    • They may be directed to the Curology app or website to explore additional features and resources.

  10. Skincare Routine

    • Users receive their customized Curology skincare products.

    • They follow the provided skincare routine and track progress through the app or website.

  11. Subscription Management

    • Users can access their account to manage their subscription.

    • This includes updating payment information, changing the subscription plan, or canceling if needed.

  12. Support and Assistance

    • Users have access to customer support for any questions or concerns related to their subscription or skincare routine.


My primary objective is to evaluate the usability of Curology's desktop website sign-up flow. This assessment is crucial to comprehending the user experience for first-time users and pinpointing areas in need of improvement. Curology has identified issues related to customer confusion regarding pricing and subscription details, highlighting the importance of assessing how well users can access this critical information. By conducting unmoderated tests, we aim to uncover minor usability issues, assess users' ability to locate relevant product information, gauge their understanding of the product's value proposition, and determine if Curology's website provides sufficient information to aid first-time users. The research also provided insight into users' initial impressions and thoughts upon completing the skin quiz. To achieve these objectives, we will recruit a target audience of young adults with varying degrees of acne, employ UserBrain for unmoderated tests and data collection, and utilize tools like for transcription and analysis. Our research plan spans several weeks, from participant recruitment to data analysis, with a total budget of $390.

Problem 1: Lack of Clarity in Communicating Value Proposition

Issue: The homepage of Curology lacks clarity in communicating its unique value proposition and business model. It fails to differentiate Curology from other subscription beauty services, even though it offers personalized prescription creams based on medical provider recommendations and research-based prescription-grade ingredients.

Significance: This inconsistency with user expectations violates the usability heuristic of consistency with the user’s expectations. Users should be able to quickly grasp how Curology works and its value proposition without needing to conduct extensive research. The lack of clarity can lead to user confusion about the trial process and the involvement of a medical provider, resulting in a negative experience, drop-offs during sign-up, and a loss of trust in the brand.

Solution: To address this issue, a dedicated "What is Curology?" page should be added to the sign-up flow after users click "Get Started." This page would educate users about Curology's telemedicine skincare approach, emphasizing that it's not just a skincare brand but also a telemedicine service. This information would help set clear expectations and differentiate Curology from traditional beauty subscriptions.

Problem 2: Accessibility Issue - Blinking Text

Issue: The animated text on the Curology homepage blinks for more than three seconds, which can cause discomfort or seizures for users with photosensitivity.

Significance: This design violates WCAG Guideline 2.3 for website accessibility, as it doesn't allow users to avoid content that could trigger seizures due to photosensitivity. This contradicts Curology's mission to provide accessible skincare.

Solution: The solution is to remove the blinking text from the homepage, aligning with Curology's mission to make skincare accessible to all users. Additionally, implementing a sticky accessibility toolbar that offers alternative browsing options would enhance the website's inclusivity.

Problem 3: Hidden Pricing Complexity

Issue: At the end of the sign-up process, the subscription pricing is displayed with a monthly breakdown in a larger font, while the actual billing frequency (every two months) and total charge are shown in smaller font beneath it. This design hides pricing complexity and can mislead users into thinking they'll be billed monthly for half the price.

Significance: This approach violates Bruce Tognazzini's interaction design principle of discoverability by concealing complexity. Simplifying pricing can lead to more initial sign-ups but result in issues later on, such as unhappy customers and potential mistrust.

Solution: To address this issue, present the starting price of the subscription on the product overview page within the sign-up flow before users begin their skin assessment. Rename the trial to "30-day trial" for clarity. Change the statement "Ships and bills every 2 months at $64.85 (plus sales tax, when applicable)" to "2-month supply $64.85 (+tax)" with the same font size to increase transparency. This ensures users clearly understand the pricing terms and conditions, reducing the risk of user confusion and mistrust. Additionally, emphasize other benefits such as the ability to cancel any time, a 90-day money-back guarantee, and access to an assigned medical provider for support throughout the journey. These changes enhance transparency and align pricing with user expectations.

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Outcomes & Lessons Learned

The project resulted in significant improvements in Curology's desktop website usability. Key outcomes included enhanced user understanding of Curology's unique value proposition, improved accessibility, and increased trust through transparent pricing. While specific metrics were not provided, the project successfully addressed its objectives. Lessons learned emphasized the importance of user-centered design, accessibility considerations, and iterative testing.

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