Home Monitoring Dashboard — Design Exercise

How to pull together all IoT devices into one central user interface to accomplish a common task?

The Context

Smart home products are changing our lives. 7 in 10 households in the US now own at least one smart home product. That translates to 83 million households, and of those, 18% or 22 million homes own more than one smart home product. However, the ecosystem of joining 2 or more IoT devices together is very complex.

What might we come up with when we mention the smart home?

The Task

Function multiple devices effectively and effortlessly when arriving at home

The Research

User Interview

Because of the 3 hours time limitation, I couldn’t run complex research, such as sending surveys or interviewing different stakeholders. But I got a chance to reach out to my friend who uses a wide range of smart devices. I asked him to describe the interaction with smart devices every day and encouraged him to think aloud for any pain point or concern.

Let’s imagine a scenario in which the user is not a master of technology.

The emotion map of a user gets stuck in setting up routines for a bulk of smart devices.

Current Flow

Then I downloaded and played around with the Smart Life, which has 171k downloads on the app store. Users need at least 5 steps to set up a routine, and there is no way to test if this will work or not. Users have to go back and forth a lot to make sure every step is correct.

Trending app for smart home devices
Cumbersome smart routine setting process

The Problem

Let’s summarize. The main pain points for the task are:

Get lost in too many steps when setting up automation

Have no idea of what can be achieved by connecting devices together

The Challenge

How might we allow smart-home users to control and set up smart routines for home appliances more easily and intuitively, with the least learning curve as possible?

The Design Principle

After understood pain points and user needs, I defined the design principles for setting routine/automation to guide my later decision making.

Do more tasks, in less time

Users are seeking a seamless way to quickly access, understand, and set up common routine activities in the dashboard.

Be able to preview the result

Users are seeking an intuitive way to view the automation outcome and confirm they are doing the right thing.

The Ideation

I began ideating solutions that would best address user needs.

Wireframe and flow

The dashboard enables users to quickly access to all devices and control easily

It shows the status of devices directly. Click once to turn it on/off.

The automation setting page supports review feature to ensure the accuracy.

Try and see the effect in advance in case of any unpredictable surprise.

The library provides recommended automations based on user’s devices.

Can’t imagine what you can do? Check our community for inspiration!

The Design

High-fidelity UI

2021 design trend pointed out the dark theme and bold color. I applied different colors related to emotions, such as blue for the night and red for the morning. Besides, I selected materialized icons to help users better understand the meanings.

View interactive prototype

Notifications

Users get notifications when arriving at home, so that they can trigger the automation without opening the app.

What’s Next?

I’m planning to take usability test of the prototype with users to improve user flow and do in-depth research about each feature.

Product and UX Designer. A graduate student from Pratt Information Experience Design.

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