A responsive website for a Buffalo, NY spa
Jessica Martinen, Owner Gurlface LLC
Two weeks
My Role
UX Design
Sketch, Invision
“I’m a new business owner and I worked with Joel to build a new website to increase the foot traffic to my business. The whole process was a breeze and Joel made sure to keep me involved throughout the process to ensure my vision was being brought to life. The amount of new visits to my site has increased and I’ve had new clients find me via my site! Very pleased and would recommend his services to those looking to expand their reach.”
- Jessica Martinen, Owner Gurlface LLC

Project Overview

This was a responsive website project done with a real business client.

Gurlface LLC is a Salon and Spa service provider located in Buffalo New York. Although an official website exists, the owner mainly relied on Instagram and Facebook for marketing and used DM's for appointment scheduling. My task was to create a responsive website what would increase the number of bookings, which also develops the company's current branding and aligns with their desired customer experience.

Key Challenges: The client uses Squarespace for website creation and hosting, and does not have the budget to approach a design agency to code a website. Design deliverables needed to be implementable in Squarespace.  

I created the site for the client and it has since seen a 200% increase in average site visits per day.
Visit the site here.


To help me understand the needs and frustrations of the users as well as identify market trends, I first performed market research. I understand the value of good data, and performed my own meta-analysis of verified studies and published research.

  • 27% of the customers who frequent the salon and spa industry are between the ages of 35-44, making this the largest age demographic. Another 48% are above the age of 45. Only 8% of consumers under the age of 25 visit businesses within this industry
  • Around 70% of spas offer the option for customers to book a treatment online, with 83% saying that they use social media to share discounts or promotions with their customer base
  • 65% of salon and spa owners plan to invest more in social media, while 32% “are experimenting with new marketing channels
  • 41% of spas and salons earn less than $100,000 in annual revenue, 30% of spas and salons earn $100,000 to $299,999 in annual revenue

Competitive Analysis

It was important to understand how Gurlface LLC's services differed from their competitors. Since most Spa and Salon companies are small or mid-sized, it's easier to make a direct comparison. I analyzed several local competitors and 2 larger ones.

User Interviews
"I need online booking, don't want to call. Having to call is frustrating, it's hard to get last minute services. Cleanliness is also really important". - Spa  customer, 29F
"I get facials, makeup done at salons, prefer to have rapport with the person doing the stylist. Everyone has different skin types". - Spa Customer 34F
"Found my last salon on Yelp, it had good ratings. I trust local small businesses more, there is less personalized service at big chains". - Spa Customer 21F

Upon completion of my research and gaining a better understanding of the industry, I then conducted 6 phone interviews on a semi-structured format. Ages 21-55. Most common pains were having to book by phone which usually resulted in not getting the time they wanted, and unsanitary conditions.

I organized the responses into Needs and Pains



With this information, I created my user persona. Amanda is a culmination of my research and interview findings and help to guide my design decisions and keep them user-centered.

User flow

I created a user flow with two points of entry. One is Amanda coming to the home page from a search or direct while the other is Amanda following a promotional link posted on social media directly to a services page.

Task flow

I mapped out the task for the booking process.


I created a set of wireframes which go through the verification process and a FAQ section. I took inspiration from national competitor's websites as well as several fashion forward businesses which offer similar services. I structured the layout to work within the confines of Squarespace's site builder.

User testing

I tested the wireframes with 6 subjects for general usability testing using Invision.

Subjects were asked to complete these 3 tasks


Style guide

Working with the client, I created a brand style guide that reflects the core values of the brand while meeting accessibility standards. We went through several iterations before deciding on the style guide below.

Hi-fi mockups

I created a series of hi-fi- mockups for the key screens in accordance with the style guide. I worked with the client to write copy which keeps the elements in proper alignment while avoiding widows. The service pages also explain experimental healing services such as crystal healing which may be unfamiliar to new customers.



This was my first time working with a real client for UX design, and I learned a lot about communication
with clients and making presentation deliverables. I also learned how to base design decisions off
real user experiences.

Pragmatic solutions

My client did not have the budget to go to a web developer who would charge a considerable sum of money to build and maintain a site. I worked with the client to develop a usable site which allows her to promote and attract new business while being easy to update and maintain.

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Joel Lipton 2019