Interaction & Service Designer Based in Oslo, Norway
Designing mobile touchpoint for IoT cloud service platform
Specializing in IoT Platform as a Service (PaaS), this company’s principal offerings include smart device cloud connectivity and third-party ecosystem interoperability. They offer integration solutions for consumers owning smart devices from different brands. They partnered with
to design the mobile experience of this platform with an accommodating UI for varied smart device communication, monitoring, and control.
I was part of the larger UX team, working as the consulting interaction designer for this module responsible to carry out the start to launch engagement.
I worked right from the requirement gathering, conceptualization, IAs and wireframes to providing end to end support to visual and development team.
To design a white-label smart home app for an IOT platform providing multi-ecosystem integration with flexible UI for customer based customization.
The final application was required to be white labeled as well as provide UI integration for several third-party IoT devices. Hence the
new design needed to facilitate two properties
. Firstly a general
interaction language mapping
over different device-specific UIs and secondly, an underlying architecture to morph and map the increased or decreased
to the customers' purchase plan.
1. Requirement gathering
In this case, we conducted several product walkthroughs to understand smart devices of various brands and their digital interfaces and associated apps. We created a sample survey to get an insight of the challenges faced by people using domestic IoT applications. The maps, IAs, personas and scenarios were used to collate this information.
2. Task mapping
Based on the identified persona, we did open brainstorming sessions based on different user expertise levels and scenarions such as remote access or room based groupings, to define key sections of the application. This exercise also helped in selecting key scenarios to be explored as a part of taskflows later in the process.
3. Taskflows and IAs
We created detailed IAs as a hybrid taskflow and information hierarchy. We created user flows in various combinations of user roles as well as changing context as well as intent. These flows served as the foundation for the internal information structure of the app.
4. The UI exploration to map interactions of different smart devices
We explored and sketched various UIs to incorporate varied devices within one app. We carried out this exercise keeping in my mind the problems faced by users in connecting smart devices of different brands and the learning curve associated with it.
The challenge of nesting of devices in the app overtime leading to a chaotic app UI
To prevent this we restricted the open and nested grouping
Hence, we designed the categories around three frequently spoken sentences in this context:
Can you switch off the basement light?
Can you switch off the heater?
Can you lock the door when you go out?
The room category can be used by the user literally or figuratively, e.g.: movie theater or movie time. This categorization was supported by default categories such as ON/OFF, malfunctioning and device types.
Two fundamental aspects of our design approach
Homogeneity in interactions with smart devices across different IoT ecosystems
Single app device system control was the primary goal as well as the challenge. Although we began with the most attractive solution to designers- creating a palette of user-friendly digital interfaces for a breadth of tangible devices stationed together in the app. However, after several iterations and participant observations, we concluded that a simple OFF and ON interaction (the most frequent) across devices reduced the cognitive load and allowed for easier inclusion of a range of devices.
Finer UI controls of individual devices hidden but arms length
The app keeps the advanced controls specific to each device hidden but instantly accessible through the settings provided for each device. This redundancy helped in creating a simple and clear mental model for fine-tuning any device.
Based on the designed interaction architecture the team further experimented with few derived variations evaluating its flexibility to be modified for different companies, devices, and consumer plans.
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