Pioneering a New Space – Designing UX for IoT

Global business research and analytics provider IHS Markit estimates that there will be more than 31 billion IoT connected devices in 2018, driven by consumer electronics, medicine and healthcare, industrial design and automation, and transportation sectors.[1] Yet IoT devices succeed only when they solve real problems and make users’ lives easier.

Design is the critical component that bridges IoT technology’s potential with meeting real human needs. But designing for IoT isn’t that easy. You could create a beautiful UI, and a stunning piece of hardware and users could still have a poor experience of the product as a whole.

Why Is UX for IoT Different?

Right now, companies are trying to make their connected product work, but few are focused on making it usable. Connected devices come in a wide variety of form with varying input and output capabilities. Designing for the IoT is inherently more complex. They pose design challenges which are new to designers accustomed to pure software services. Many of these challenges arise from:

  • Functionality is unpredictable
  • Their ability to bridge the digital and physical worlds
  • Asynchronous IoT
  • The quirks of networking

Designing a great connected product requires a holistic approach to user experience. It spans to many layers of design, not all of them immediately visible. Besides, it requires collaboration between design, technology, and business. Great UX may start with understanding users, but the designer’s ability to meet those users’ needs depends on the technology enablers, business models, and wider service ecosystem.

You need to consider these six factors while developing IoT devices:

  • Strong emphasis on UX: Next-gen devices have significantly less or no interfaces and the need for excellent UX becomes more important since the primary mode of communication is through touch gestures and voice commands.
  • The quality of the product and not quantity: If a product is difficult to navigate, or is filled with unnecessary widgets, then its popularity is short lived. Build a top-notch smart yet simple product.
  • Differences between users: Ensure that devices that are connected with each other, do work for everyone.
  • Designing beyond pixels: Branding has taken on new identities – users use sound, voice, tone to identify it. A UX designer must know how to communicate brand experiences using these additional features.
  • Cross-device interactions and inter-usability: Create a coherent UX across all the devices with which the user interacts. Designers need to distribute functionality between devices, to suit the capabilities of each and context of use.
  • Designing with data: Devices generate a huge amount of data. Defining UI/UX makes a designer, a holistic data representation expert. The accuracy of the data combined with the data created by software becomes the new definition of UX.

IoT is here and as it evolves from less to no interface, UX will be the prime factor that will drive the entire product experience among the customers. Designers have a very large space and opportunity to contribute to this revolutionary technology which already does impact millions of lives around the globe.



6 Apr, 18 By Naveen Kolhapur

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