Simplicity and unobtrusiveness were key factors in the development of Bundl. As the amount of available smart home devices grow, management of these devices becomes more and more complex. The potential users that we spoke to were not concerned with total control. The value they found was in peace of mind, knowing these devices were actively monitoring their home and ensuring that everything runs smoothly. We focused our efforts into providing an experience that made certain assumptions about what would be optimal for the user based on their interactions with the platform. The user is also given contextual information on their utility use to demonstrate that they can make a tangible change when using Bundl.
In order to determine how existing users use their smart home technology or if they use it at all, we conducted a total of 12 informational interviews. There was emphasis placed on the types of technology that the user owns currently and the decision making process that went into that purchase. We were also interested in their knowledge of the smart home space and their immediate reaction when they hear the term “smart home”.
After several rounds of analyzing our insights through the process of affinity mapping, we observed three emerging patterns:
Based on our initial research, we knew that our target user would have the three traits listed above. With this is mind, how can we make a product that provides the busy professional with a quick and simple way to make use of his smart home devices so he can spend his time on the more important things in life? Before we could answer that specific question, we defined four design principles by which we would judge our decisions moving forward:
With the user and design principles defined, further work needed to be done to continue to refine designs in order to make sure we were addressing the correct issues. Testing consisted of in-person and remote interviews with potential users who fit our user profile. Initially, the testing was done through paper prototypes but as we received more information, the prototypes were presented in higher fidelity formats such. This exercise allowed us to have a clearer idea of the mental models of the typical user and how they would react to certain interactions.