What do existing smart home applications offer and what issues do the users face while using the applications?
I began the research process by looking at existing smart home applications and the features they offer. Some user research was also done, based on product reviews, to understand what are some of the issues that users face while using such applications.
I aimed at creating a user-friendly smart home app experience with a focus on security.
01 - Automated Routines
A way to automate everyday routines such as a good morning routine to have your lights turn on, with a particular temperature.
02 - Guest Home Access
Multiple accounts or guest keys to give access to your house to guests/housekeeping/dog walkers...
03 - Real-time updates and notifications
24/7 Video feed, updates and real time notifications.
04 - One control for all smart devices
Apps that act as a hub to manage all connected devices in one place.
01 - Internet Security
While most of these provide a good way to secure your home from physical intruders, they don’t focus on safeguarding your devices or smart home systems on the internet.
02 - Intuitive Interface
Users are more frustrated by the smart home apps that dictate and manage the smart devices than the actual devices themselves. There is need more intuitive controls for smart home systems.
The challenge was to figure out how to create simple interface with obvious utility. The interactions with the app were to be inviting and intuitive, so that the user can control their home with ease. There was also need to introduce controls to manage internet access.
Abode divides all app interactions into two simple sections based on the flow of information - 'Timeline' and 'Control'. Timeline presents all the information that is going to be consumed by the user, and Control presents features that require information from the user.
Abode automatically changes the alarm mode when the user enters or leaves his home. User can also easily swipe through and select a mode manually.
Always know what's happening
Keep an eye on your home through the live streams from anywhere. Simply swipe to access different cameras.
In an emergency, sound the alarm or call the police with the handy shortcuts right from the home screen.
Everything the smart home system captures is recorded in the timeline chronologically. Events can be filtered out based on rooms, type of events or devices.
There are three types of events which are color coded based on priority:
Control Home Access
A user can grant access to friends, family and services. He can determine if an individual is a guest, the owner or a someone who only needs access at specific times on particular days.
Access Circle has three categories:
1. Owner like you or your spouse.
2. Guest like your friends and family.
3. Others like your housekeeper or dog walker
Control Internet Access
Abode gives you the ability to control internet access for users and select devices. Monitor and control all devices on network or control what your kids access, and set time limits.
Get instant mobile alerts if someone enters or leaves your home or accesses your network.
HOW DID IT GO?
This project gave me creative freedom to explore possible feature sets and user interactions. I pushed myself to create a full process deck that can be presented to the client including userflow, sketches, design and motion-based prototypes.
If I were to work on this further I would want to create a short and efficient onboarding experience for new users - since the app offers so many features and complex funtionalities.
See the process