There are a huge variety of applications in IoT spanning connected products and hardware enabled services. Consumer products such as home lighting and heating controllers are growing in popularity. Across many industry verticals, sensing, tracking and actuation are enabling smarter use of resources, just in time processes and predictive maintenance.
All of these have users, who want products and services which are useful, usable and satisfying to use. Mass market consumers may have quite different needs from industry specialists. But there are many common challenges in designing the user experience of products which span both hardware and software.
In this Insight Report, we’ll look at the factors which make UX for IoT particularly challenging. We’ll discuss how technical architecture and business models shape UX, and how IoT blurs the line between product and service experiences. We’ll look at the need to give users transparency around how complex systems work and share data, in particular in relation to GDPR. And we’ll set out the challenges of designing distributed user experiences across multiple UIs, and show how some companies are tackling the challenges of designing for both hardware and software in parallel.
This report was written for Digital Catapult by Claire Rowland. Claire is a London-based product/UX strategy consultant specialising in IoT and hardware-enabled services. She is the lead author of Designing Connected Products: UX for the consumer internet of things published by O’Reilly.
She has a particular interest in taking connected products from an early adopter user base to the mass market. Before launching her own consultancy, she worked on energy management and home automation products as the service design manager for AlertMe.com, since acquired by British Gas Hive. Previously, she was head of research for design consultancy Fjord, where she led EU-funded R&D work investigating UX for interconnected embedded devices. She has worked in UX design and research for mobile, multi-platform and web services since 1997.