The ‘Art’ In ‘Smart’ Devices!
By Ranjani Rao
You guessed it right! I’m talking about UI and UX being vital for any smart product to be truly appreciated for its smartness! We are rapidly moving towards an IoT enabled world and in this process, we are seeing how hitherto ‘dumb’ or mechanical devices are actually prefixing themselves with the ‘smart’ tag. Talk of smart fridges or smart cars or even smart socks and jackets, and you are dealing with stuff that has a brain of its own and might just about challenge yours too!
But what would make a person actually adopt something that’s smart? The device may be capable of doing super-smart things but it should be simplistic enough for the user to figure out how to use it too! Because though we humans are smart, we would, any day, pick a device that is intuitive to use over one that attempts to get our grey cells running on how to crack its smartness lock! Where the grey cells are actually used is in the process of making these smart devices – the makers have to ensure they deal with complex technology and logic to get the device to be stunningly smart, yet simple for a layman to use.
What are some of the characteristics of good UI/UX for a smart device?
- No-brainer installation and setup process
Gone are the days when people would actually read manuals. Now it’s all about seeing quick visuals or maybe even a Youtube video and get all set up in 5-10 minutes. You have to automate as much as you can so that manual steps of installation or setup are extremely minimal. Does your wearable fitness device fit that need or does it need a lengthy tutorial just for someone to track their first run? Think about it..
- Feedback for actions
If your smart device doesn’t communicate, users will forget it exists in their lives! Your device must be akin to a human acquaintance that nudges, reminds and assists – providing useful feedback from time to time. All without being too intrusive in the humdrum of daily life.
- Ease of visibility of vital information
Smart devices that are commonly sought after are home appliances or medical devices such as pulse oximeters or heart rate monitors. It is essential that users be able to quickly read from a prominent display what these devices have to tell them. This is because the information is mostly real-time and needs to be acted upon quickly. While mobile apps can be used in conjunction with smart devices to send out notifications and provide action items or deeper insights to users, the smart device itself must have a minimum level of actionable information provided to consumers.
- Comfort and convenience
Thinking user comfort /convenience means thinking physical design, choice of material, device dimension and context of use. Also, you need to consider the supporting apps or platforms that are needed for your customer to use the device effectively. If your device needs to communicate via a Bluetooth or wifi network make sure it is designed to work seamlessly in such environments. All of these elements add up to ensuring the customer has a smooth user experience that will make the smartness of the device much more apparent to them and help them appreciate the convenience it brings to their lives.
There could be many other considerations that go into the making of a smart AND sensible device that helps make for a great user interface and experience. Got ideas on this? Leave them in the comments below.
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