Dumb effect: when your non tecky friend sarcastically highlights that you’ve spent 100 seconds to turn the light on through your phone, while the light switch is at your arm’s reach and it would have taken 1 second to turn the light on “the good old-fashioned way”. Then you feel dumb.
Designing an app with a high degree of personalization that learns the user habits and uses the context to speed-up every interaction.
This design speeds up devices control thanks to the visual consolidation of the memory (I go straight to the button without looking for it) and will create a better feeling of connection between the user and his/her automated home
Among the people I know, I’ve made a thorough selection of those who had certain characteristics, like age group, tech savviness, family type, house type, work type and an estimation of how many hours they spend inside or outside their houses.
I decided to select people and not to do any survey or guerrilla research because living in a small town it would have been hard to find people with enough tech awareness to be relevant for a project on Home Automation.
After that I asked for their availability for an interview, then I defined the questions and prepared a spreadsheet with all the questions, in order to be able to collect the data in one place
I’ve interviewed 35 people
Data were collected taking notes on paper for each participant and then gathered on a digital spreadsheet to have a comprehensive view of the data.
It was surprising how much information we can extract from talking with people. Information that are usually covered under a mountain of wrong assumptions we make.
I’ve tried to empathize with participants to understand their specific feelings about Home automation and their interaction with the devices.
Each person has his/her own relationship with the house and I wanted to deliver a product that would improve this relationship and make users feel like they have the house under control in their own personal way
Each competitor benefits from its “Private universe”. They doesn’t try to charm customers with clever functions or a good User Experience, but they take advantage from the interconnected universe of devices and services they already have. Customers usually enter into the Home Automation through the universe they are already in.
The only competitor who doesn’t have a private universe to rely on is Home Assistant that unfortunately has a huge entry barrier. To use the platform profitably, you need to be quite an expert in IT matters, I’d say you almost need to be a developer.
Extremely versatile and customizable. Thanks to the programming language it lets you access to more controls of our devices
All the analyzed competitors lack customization, except for Home Assistant which is extremely customizable but also inaccessible for all people without a strong IT background
After the research data has been processed, we’re now able to converge and identify what our users need to be more engaged into Home Automation and to get more from their automated home.
I’ve tried to come out with solutions very different between them, but with a common goal, the speed of use.
Thanks to the prediction of user’s habits and the automatic context switching, Homio will be able to give users what they need at the right time
a moderated usability test was made on 5 users that used the digital prototype, while observed by the moderator (me).
The test showed few minor inconsistencies and 3 major problems that needed to be addressed
After that, another round of test was made to check if the design was compliant with A11y standards.
Colors contrast and fonts have been scanned with few online tools and kept under control with some Figma Plugin.
Then the last test was performed with a real user with visual impairment
another iteration of interviews made me realize that many users would love to have a dashboard that gives them quick access to different controls depending on the context they are in.
People have different priorities when they are at home, at work or they are travelling.
So I explored users priorities to define which type of device they prefer to have a quick access to on different contexts or times of the day.
I’ve selected a triad of colors to represents the three categories of devices in the Automated Home.
Each category represent one of the three main user priorities.
Using the Similarity principle (through colors) for controls of the same category, will lighten the cognitive load of identifying the control we are looking for and this will speed-up the use of the app
This project reinforced my awareness of the entire Design Thinking process. Particularly regarding how important iterations are in the different stages of design.
In this project, I was able to identify several issues at various stages of the design process that would have gone unnoticed without a round of user testing.