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E-Bode: Smart Home App

E-bode is a smart home mobile app that lets the user control their devices remotely. It also enables the user to monitor and automate their homes.

Project Type
Mobile App Design

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Duration
4 Months

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My Role

UX Research, IA, Wireframing and UI Design

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Team

Me, Yash Rathi

Objective

To design a smart home mobile app used to remotely access devices at one's home. Incorporate features which will make the app useful in more than one way. Conduct research to better understand the problem's that can be used to solve the problems without making it too overwhelming for the user. Design a user flow and app architecture which is intuitive and solves the problems in the most efficient and simple manner.

My Process

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Smart Devices in Indian Market

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I started my research by understanding who can/may use smart home devices and who won't. In India, smart home devices cost slightly more than a normal device. These prices can be a deal breaker for the majority of the middle class.

The second aspect which may keep people from buying smart devices is the ownership status of home. Those who live in rented homes often get basic devices like lights and fans with the building. They prefer renting a furnished home so they don't have to look into the logistics if they end up moving from that place. Plus, it's easier to have it already installed. If in case the homeowner is buying the devices of the home they are renting out, the likelihood of them buying slightly premium smart home devices is less. The likelihood of the tenant buying smart home devices is also less but not nil, especially if they don't plan on living there for long.

Which leaves us with home owners/ long term tenants who range from the upper middle class to high class. A fully automated home in Mumbai can cost at least INR 2,50,000 and can go up to INR 5,00,000.

An attempt to understand what users want.

I conducted interviews to understand what kind of problems people face while using devices at home. These problems were not about the device or its design, since we cannot change that. The conversation revolved around the user's habits and their interaction with various devices and their usage.

Research Details
Research Methodology

Primary Qualitative data collected via Structured Interviews.

Sample

10 Participants ranging from the age of 18-50 who live in Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities in India. 

Research Questions

Each person has a different experience while using devices at their home. The devices they have at home can vary too. The interviews conducted were started off as a structured interview to get bare minimum data. However, when required, follow ups to any questions were made to get a good understanding.

What is your name?

What is your occupation?

Do you live alone or with someone?

What all devices do you have at home?

Do you face any problems while using the devices?

How old are you?

Where do you live?

What is your daily schedule like?

Do you own any smart devices?

Is there any problem in context to you home or your schedule?

Research Outcomes

Users want to control their devices remotely. 

Users wish they can create clusters of devices.

Users want to monitor their security camera on phones

Users wish to see real time power consumption

Users want to get notified about the device health.

Users wish to automate some devices 

Users want to get notified about device maintenance

Users don't want to use multiple apps for all tasks.

Competitor Analysis

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Problem Statement

Urban home owners have various smart devices at home, be it something as small as a smart light bulb or a smart TV or virtual assistant on your smart speaker. However each is managed separately. 

There is no one interface to manage all the devices from.

People often forget about the device health and maintenance.

People often forget to turn off the device when leaving house.

People control each device individually everyday even though they are almost used together.

Those who travel a lot or have pets or kids at home worry about the safety.

People feel no control over their homes when they are away.

There is no way to see the power consumption in real time. They cannot see power consumption per device.

People don't want to download multiple apps to manage their smart homes.

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The Solution

A smart home app which the user can use from their mobile devices to manage and control devices. The devices and the app should be connected to Wi-fi to be able to manage them.

Remote access to all devices

Scheduling and automation for a seamless experience

CCTVs or Camera views for security. Ability to take and store images too.

All devices can be accessed via same interface

Energy consumption reading per device and ways to reduce them.

Ability to group devices based on rooms and scenarios.

Admin control to ensure privacy and limited control to other family memeber's based on admin's decision.

Users

Anyone with smart home devices (which can be connected via Wi-Fi) and a smart phone is a potential user for this app.

Personas

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User Flow

Information Architecture

Wireframing

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Responsiveness

To ensure that the design works on all resolutions, a grid system was put in place before designing.

The screen was divided into 6 columns with a gutter on 10px. Margins on both left and right side was 15px each.

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Branding

The name of the smart home app is eBode. It is a conjunction of the words electronic and abode. 

The icon is created by subtracting the Wi-Fi symbol from a home icon

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Components

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Final Design

1.a Splash.png
1.b Login.png
1.c Signup.png
Splash/Login/Signup

The login signup and splash screens are in a different colour than the app to match the branding.

Setting up the app

A first time user would set up their homes and add devices

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1.e.4 Add Device Details.png
1.e.1 Setup-New Home.png
1.e.2 Scan.png
1.e.5 Select Room.png
1.e.6 Add Device.png
1.e.3 Scan Item Added.png
1.f Confirmation.png
Connecting to an existing home

When a newly registered user wishes to connect to a home which already exists, they would have to enter a code which will be shared by any house member on app

1.d Setup.png
1.g Home code.png
2.d Energy.png
Monitor Energy Consumption

On this screen, the user can monitor energy consumption. This has been added to help users track their electricity usage and be more wise about their electricity usage. 

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Notifications

This section is for the user to see all the notifications. The app will notify the user about device health and maintenance based on best practices.

2.b Homepage.jpg
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Quick Access/ Homepage

The landing screen for the app where the user can ​remotely access the devices, tap into security systems and see the upcoming device schedules.

Home Security / CCTV

The user can tap into any camera at their home to monitor the safety of their homes or just watch over kids while at work.

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2.g Security.png
3.a Devices.png
3.b Device Details.jpg
3.c Device Details.jpg
Devices

The user can use the app to switch on and off the devices in a single tap. They can also change the device setting and save various settings as a preset under scenes.

Rooms and Scenes

A user can create clusters of devices. They can create a room with multiple devices. Each device will be linked to a room and each room should atleast have one device.

Scenes are more flexible compared to rooms. Multiple devices can be a part of multiple scenes.

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4.b Rooms.png
5.a Scenes.png
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Creating a scene
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5.d Add Device.png
5.e Device Preset.png
5.f Selected device.png
5.g Confirmation.png
Adding Automation

The devices can be automated on certain conditions as well as set to a time based schedule

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6.e Preset.png
6.b Automate Trigger.png
6.c Condition.png
6.f Device Selected.png
6.g Review.png
6.d Action.png
6.h Confirm.png
Homes and Admin Control

The user who created the home will be appointed as the admin. The admin has the control to share house code with other users and give them access to use various features of the app.

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7b. Home Details.png
7c. Access.png
7.d Admin change.png

Thats all folks!

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