Intern Project – ARKit!

I had the distinct pleasure to help with this year’s intern project – a proof of concept app to test out viewing virtual makeup with augmented reality. We chose to model a popular Nar’s lipstick that was visually interesting, and had some great colors.

  • Created the mesh and animation sequence in Cinema4D / took accurate measurements to endure model closely matched its real-world counterpart
  • Exported as Collada file
  • Imported into Xcode and converted to SceneKit file
  • Textured in SceneKit
  • Changing the mesh material at runtime to show off different lipstick shades
  • Added scene lights for realistic plane shadows

Day of Code

Hello World.

In partnership with Apple and CPS, Ulta hosted a Day of Code at our downtown Chicago office. Students from LakeView High School and Michele Clark were walked through the development lifecycle of a feature, from requirements to development, to getting the app on the app store. We also spent some time introducing the students to the Ulta Beauty brand and high level stats about our company.

Joe Rago, Director of Digital Innovation starts the day off.

We also built an app just for this day so the students could have something tangible to correlate some of our coding topics as we provide the students with the GitHub repo for the app. We did our best to represent all common iOS app view patterns, as well as latest Swift syntax.

Another cool feature in the app is we did a little of  the school branding and let students choose their school – doing so updates the app icon and provides with school specific details.

Sasha Smith and Jenni Urban talk about CX while having the students work together on prototypes.

CCR: A brand new cart & checkout experience

In the summer of 2017 we had just wrapped up a huge 5.0 release, which featured our brand new homepage redesign. With the momentum from that release we set out on an even larger challenge; to rebuild our cart & checkout experience from the ground up (or in this case from the backend services to the frontend UI).

We knew this was no easy feat, like the homepage, cart & checkout is an intricate part in the customer journey, and the core of our commerce business.

Features of note:
  • Global messaging (bag updates: removed, updated, etc) and Item level in-line messaging.
  • Enriched product cells with promotional and discount information.
  • Check out quickly with Apple Pay or PayPal.
  • Free gifts section with simple options to select variants.

Homepage redesign

When it was finally time to retire the existing homepage, we made sure to set the foundation for a rich future. To prepare for this future we set out on building a modular framework that could be customized and controlled completely by our business team members.

Features of note:
  • Modular design
  • Featured in the App Store for redesign!
  • Modules can be customized to give business more flexibility
  • Business controlled via CMS
  • Modules scale to device width (variable height and width)
  • Weekly ad animated video

Enhancing the Product Detail Page

We know how important it is for our guests to find that perfect shade of lipstick, so that’s why we made our product detail page better than ever.

Features of note:
  • Large product image with Zoom functionality
  • Smart SKU selector with custom flow collection view layout to allow center scrolling and magnifying effect
  • SKU selector changes when swatches/images aren’t as important as sizing information
  • Expandable sections

Scrolling Interaction:

SKU scroller with scaling effect and snap-to-center

Quick SKU Selector Modal:

Bringing Apple Pay to Ulta Beauty

On April 26th we hit the “Ready for Sale” button in iTunes Connect for version 4.1 of our flagship iOS app.  This release was my first as Lead iOS Developer at Ulta Beauty, the culmination of weeks of hard work, and it includes some huge updates!

The centerpiece of this release is Apple Pay, the easy, safe, and private way to pay for goods.  We implemented this feature in our bag page, making buying that new must-have palette as simple as pressing your thumb. (Yes, I quickly learned all about makeup palettes)

The Experience:

Integrating Apple Pay took a ton of work from multiple teams across Ulta Beauty.  Being new to the company I had to rely on my co-worker’s deep knowledge of our checkout experience to get me on-boarded, and together we worked closely to come up with a solution that satisfied our customers’ needs.

Our Director of Mobility, Joe Rago, has said on a few occasions that “Nothing will help you find the skeletons in your checkout flow closet like implementing Apple Pay.”  This statement couldn’t be more true.  We had to rework many steps in our checkout flow to make sure the Apple Pay experience was seamless from start to finish.

Nothing will help you find the skeletons in your checkout flow closet like implementing Apple Pay.

After many hours of development, design, countless QA testing, and user-experience work we were ready for our first orders!  My first production order was for 2B Colours Mega Colours Mini Nail Polish, which I sadly returned to the store. more testing!

Since launching the app update, we have been featured in the App Store multiple times, including the coveted App Store front page spot, and a promotional spot in the Shopping category carousel. A huge accompaniment for the team.

Featured in the App Store:

So I want to again thank the team for all the hard work on this first release, everyone involved stepped up to the plate and delivered.  The hard work isn’t over, we are continually improving the experience for our customers, and are excited for future releases.

If you haven’t tried it yet, go ahead and download the app today from the App Store.  You can now find all things beauty, all in one place & check out in a snap with Apple Pay in the new iPhone app from Ulta Beauty.