Checking Your Hair

We’ve all been there; roll out of bed in the morning, cruise through your morning routine—shower—coffee—water the plants—sit down and start working, without so much as glancing at a mirror. If you’re lucky enough to be one who works in sweatpants and a tie (read: remote work), this may sound familiar. Sometimes the first time you see yourself is when you load up Zoom and your face is broadcast to the team.

Me, with a bored look on my face, not even looking at the screen with the camera above it.

If you’re lucky, your video conferencing tool provides a “check your hair” screen, where you can take a quick look at yourself before broadcasting to the world. Seems like a nice service, right? Well, the hair-check feature actually accomplishes more than just giving you a virtual mirror. In reality, this feature helps you use the conferencing app better, and improves your experience.

  • Shows you your face so you can adjust
  • Shows you your own background to help avoid embarrassment
  • Gives you a heads-up that you’re about to join a video/audio room
  • Gives you a chance to mute audio or turn off video before joining
  • Helps others know when a new person is joining their room
  • Helps introduce the visuals and controls of the app to new users

It’s actually in the best interest of the app designers/developers to provide you with this interface. Not only is it handy for the user, it reduces confusion and frustration, which ultimately makes the rest of the designers’/developers’ jobs easier—and the app better. Here’s a look at the hair-check interface we made for Swivel:

Portrait photo by Steven Wang on Unsplash

We’ve learned a lot by building this interface, and we hope to continue iterating on it as Swivel continues to improve. What do you think? Can you think of a time when you wished you had an interface like this, but didn’t?