Secure Controls (UK) Ltd have a long history of creating energy metering systems. Their other brand Horstmann manufactures thermostats and heating control systems. Together they decided to manufacture a fully integrated hardware and software system that would let their customers control heating, lights and hot water from their smartphones and hired us to design the software user experience.
The brief was to create an app that would work for two different user types; installers of the system and homeowners using of the system. It should make it easy for installers to connect the hardware in the homeowners system and make it easy for the homeowners to setup the system in any way that suits them.
Together with the client expertise in home monitoring and control systems we identified the main objectives for the homeowners as:
In order to meet these needs we designed the following set of core components of the app experience.
A dashboard with an activity feed that allows the users to check system status and recent activity. In the future the activity feed could also be used to display marketing information.
We created a feature called "Modes" that let users store preset settings for their home. A mode could for example be called “Away” and have stored settings for all the lights to be turned off. The users can then schedule this mode to turn on when they usually leave for work to make sure all lights are off. They could also switch the mode on manually if they for example left earlier one day. Scheduling of modes is done through the the apps calendar feature. Users can also access manual settings for individual elements of their system.
We worked in a collaborative team of three designers where I had a leading role in reviewing the output. We delivered all wireframes and designs as prototypes in InVision. This allowed us to get a mutual understanding of complex flows between the design team and the client. The client also worked from our office for over a month to give us quick feedback and speed up the process.
We delivered a core set of designs to the client after which they did the development and implementation in-house. The app was released in the App Store and the Google Play Store in late 2016. Working on an app that controls external hardware was an exciting challenge. It was also inspiring to get a deeper understand of the IOT market.