Bundl: simplifying the smart home

client: designation // time: 3 weeks // my role: research, prototype & visual design // team: andi, atanas, yitong

the challenge

The increasing number of smart home technologies intends to simplify people's lives. However, managing the abundant number of settings overwhelms users.

the outcome

A platform that integrates all smart devices into a carousel-based navigation system, allowing control over all devices in a simple and efficient manner.

 
 

Let Bundl do the work.

Always in a rush?

customizable modes allow you to quickly change settings of multiple devices to preconfigured preferences based on whether you are at home, away, or asleep.

carousel menu allows for easy access to groups of devices with minimal clicking.

direct control allows your to change main functions within devices on the same screen through simple binary interactions.

 
 
 

Forgot to lock your door?

actionable notifications will inform you when there is a vulnerable situation and enable you to take fast direct control.

homes are often shared with others. With a transparent record of all the activities within your home, you can communicate better with your loved ones and know all is safe and secure.



 

01. research & insights: context is everything

 

My team and I started with domain research and market analysis. We quickly learned that there are many device makers out there with unique control systems for each, resulting in a fragmented use experience for homewoners.

After interviewing 12 people, two main smart homeowner types emerged: the savvy homemaker who uses tech to create a more entertaining home and the tech-saturated professional who uses devices for efficiency in their lives

We focused on the tech-saturdated professional for our product as it offered us a unique challenge to design for someone who is an early adopter but is tired of tech.

After a few rounds of affinity mapping to synthesize our research and interview findings, three main insights emerged:

Homeowners value security over other factors
Products offering simple interactions are highly appreciated
Smart products are often seen as gimmicky and not practical

Gathering these insights reaffirmed our assumption that there's a lack of a seamless experience around smart home devices for users.

 
 

Defining our user & the problem.

We created a persona and a hypothetical journey map of how the tech-savvy professional may navigate the introduction and adoption of smart home technologies. This allowed us to keep our user in mind as we proceeded on with our concept development.

The tech-saturated professional needs a way to manage all his smart home devices so that he may free up time for other things in life.

 
 

03. design principles: our guide moving forward

 

At this point, we needed to solidify our findings into a guide that will serve to measure our design decisions as we move forward:

 
 

Utilitarian : user views devices as tools, not toys--serving practical purposes
Intrude only when important: user does not want unnecessary interruptions
Accessible on the go: user is highly mobile and always multitasking
Anticipate, don't ask: the app should understand the user's optimal settings

 

04. generating concepts: from paper to Axure prototypes

 

Feeling confident in the data, we diverged to brainstorm concepts--constricting ourselves only by our design principles. We tested using paper and Axure prototypes, weeding out bad ideas and further developing good ones.
 

 
 

Concept development based on user feedback

Notifications: combats forgetfulness, but should be done in a nonintrusive manner
Home vs Away: quick management, but user should still have some control over functions

Distracting UI advanced UI distracted users from functions
Security: features here brought to surface the paranoia Americans have with security

Simplicity: white space was appreciated, specially in relation to affordance
Utilities: a perk for most users if they can be more environment conscious. 

 
 

Interactions based on usability feedback:

Device-based dashboard: users felt more comfortable navigating through devices instead of device functions.
 

Customizable modes: being able to quickly swipe all devices into "home," "away," or "asleep," seemed practical to users.

Utility data: viewed as useful and an "extra perk" of the app, enabling users to be efficient and save money.

 

05. bringing concepts to life: visual explorations

 


I explored what a simple & functional, yet with a spike of character may look like (Version A).

This was realized with calming blue and grey hues with yellow as an accent. The binary functions offered easy control, and the carousel-based navigation allowed the user to jump to any device with a swipe motion. This version tested best with users, so we moved forward with its design to develop our final UI.

 

 



However, we did not discard the other versions. There are features from all 4 versions that tested positively. We combined these into the final design in a complementary and harmonious manner.

 

Final UI: each pixel matters