Case Study - OOMI

Giving a Space Age Product a Human Appeal

Helping a smart home startup give polish to their information architecture

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Client

Oomi

Studio

DESIGNATION

Team

Andrea
Veronica
Me

My Role

UX research,
UX strategy,
UX architecture,
Interaction design,
Rapid prototyping,
Usability testing

Challenge

Recommend an experience flow for Oomi smart home tablet widgets that will help users better understand how to use an unfamiliar digital product in an equally unfamiliar category.

Result

A new and improved information architecture framework for Android tablet widgets that requires little to no learning curve; improved interaction design that not only helps users accomplish tasks but also helps user understand the unique benefits of Oomi technology

Background

The expanding smart home category has been struggling to find its footing and its category leader. Oomi has established a position for itself by offering both hardware and software that work in concert to provide a comprehensive smart home experience, but their products are young and in development. Oomi asked us to partner with them to help improve their preliminary individual control widget designs for its Android tablet. After reviewing the brief and some additional observations of our own, we went a step further to help Oomi achieve success by offering a new take on the overall organization and experience of its tablet interface.

We were working with a product in much need of some love and attention.

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Previous state of the Oomi interface at the time of the project brief

Beyond the opportunity to build intuitive experience flows for the device control widgets, we observed a need to provide greater organization to those widgets and to help users effortlessly know how and where to access, organize, and customize those controls. Additionally, we know there are barriers to adoption of smart home products, and we wanted to give users confidence that our product could give them convenience and comfort that they did not have before now.

Research

Smart home is a relatively new category and most ordinary people do not understand how smart home devices are used and what benefits they offer. We understood that the general lack of knowledge about smart home technology could make answering specific questions about it difficult. As well as asking more general questions, we showed tangible mockups to users and asked them to respond to what they were seeing in order for us to know how users respond to different organizations of tasks and information.

First things first: What did we want to learn from our users?

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We gathered elusive feedback by using mockups as conversational prompts very early in our process (among other approaches).

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Likes and dislikes based on research participant feedback

Organizing our feedback into thematic buckets helped us visualize the feedback by relevance.

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Research insight synthesis into working categories

Strategy

From insights and preferences gathered during our research, we were only then able to clearly define the problems most in need of attention. It was clear to us that we may need to reexamine our original brief in order to ensure our solutions were solving user real user needs.

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It was clear to us that based on the most common user pain points that our scope would have to change in order for this product to be successful.

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Evolution of project scope based on our recommendation to our client

Wireframe Iterations

Our concept development phases began with five clickable low-fidelity prototypes tested on individuals not previously familiar with smart home products in order to measure responses from the most objective users. A second round of clickable prototypes at medium fidelity followed client feedback and evolved with additional user testing.

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Rd. 1: Early concept organizing devices by location
Rd. 2: Less literal iteration helping identify number of devices in each location and ability to add new devices
Rd. 3: More robust display of available devices with less clicks to find each
Rd. 4: Final iteration with shortcuts to both "Rooms" and to simple device controls

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Rd. 1: Early concept displaying an overview of all devices in use
Rd. 2: A feature dedicated to promoting energy efficiency that illstrates device use in context
Rd. 3: An integrated approach that shows all devices currently in use in a smaller widget and introduces alerts
Rd. 4: Final iteration that organizes all monitoring and passive controls on the same screen and gives personalized alerts of inefficient usage

Final Design

Our final design incorporated all previous feedback into conventions that help to organize tasks where users could intuitively expect to find them. It prioritizes the most desirable features into prominent features like the desirable automated "Scenes" capabilities. Our solution only reveals information to the user as it becomes relevant, such as only showing living room devices when accessing the living room tab.

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Annotated wireframes capturing interface behavior and design intent in preparation for production handoff

Conclusion

As the project came to a conclusion, Oomi hailed our extra effort to ensure the success of their interface beyond their expectations. Solutions that at first had seemed secondary were met with disproportionate enthusiasm, and they planned on sharing our solutions with their engineers immediately.