NAVETAS: SMART ENERGY IN-HOME DISPLAY
Project - Design of touchscreen display and new visual and audio experience
Product /service - Display to communicate home energy usage to customers via smart energy meters
Duration - 6 months
Team - UX designer, developer, electronic engineer, mechanical engineer, developers
Activities - Research, user journey mapping, product sketching, 3D CAD modelling, UX/UI design, visual design, user testing
Deliverables - Complete hardware and software product design, small batch manufactured and delivered for user testing
Outcome - Navetas valued at £35m and secure £5m investment from US firm Sensus - http://bbc.in/1SFKjKC
Joining the team as an industrial designer, this was my first 'UX' design project in that I took control of the complete experience through hardware and software. Early UI concepts were explored through sketches with the team and the client. We identified that intuitive data visualisation would be key to making the product usable and practical, and explored dozens of concepts for this
Moving preferred concepts into high fidelity Photoshop mockups, I began working closely with the electronics and software engineers to assess feasibility - what performance would the desired UX demand from the hardware, and what was achievable? These screen-by-screen mockups also served as handover to the development team.
My industrial design work focused on designing the display's plastic housing, specifying touchscreen components and working with the mechanical and electronic engineers to iterate as the physical design through 3D printed models. When the project budget was cut, we moved from a high resolution to a cheaper, fixed-segment LCD display, requiring me to adapt the software UX whilst maintaining a coherent vision.
Below, the first complete prototype with fully working software and hardware. The products to the right - which I also designed plastic housings for - attach to cables near the home's energy meter. The display on the left communicates readings to residents.
With the first handful of prototypes ready, I helped with a series of in-home user trials to test how suitable the solution was for a range of different households. Key risks to test were first-time setup and use, how much users understood from the UI, and to what extent the solution achieved its overall goal - prompting users to reduce their home energy usage.