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Smart home app




UX Designer

User researcher


One UI designer

One UX designer


Cologne, Germany


4 months

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This project is submitted to an NDA.

All content displayed on this page has therefore been modified accordingly .




Smart home




Smart-home app enabling users to connect their branded devices to their home network. The app then allows users to remotely manage these devices.

Complicated triggers and low engagement


The client asked us to focus on the different triggers in the app.

In such a context, a trigger is a context-based feature that will be linked to a smart device in an automation context. Examples of this include:

  • weather

  • temperature

  • location.

For instance, the user can choose to make the app close all the shutters of the house when the exterior temperature reaches 35°.


According to the data collected by the client, these triggers were rarely used by the average app customer. My team was asked to work on making these features more relevant and instinctive to use.


A location-based trigger

Given our time and budget limitations, we picked one trigger on which to iterate and test.

I chose the Geofencing one which enables users to start an automation according to their own location. Through the app, users define a perimeter around their house (10m, 20m...). Leaving or entering this perimeter will trigger an action in their smart device. For instance, a user can choose to shut down all the lights in his house once he exits the chosen perimeter.

I focused on this specific trigger because:

  • it is an environmentally-friendly feature allowing users to save energy by switching off all devices when they are not at home

  • even though it has great potential, very few people know what it is and how to use it.


Status quo: complicated flows

The difficulty of finding triggers

The first problem we identified through a few internal tests, was the difficulty of finding the triggers in the app. Users had to first select/create a "Scene" (the automated entity linked to the chosen smart devices). It's only once that the scene has been created and the devices added to it that the user could go into "Settings" and add triggers. This process already discouraged users to want to use an automation at all.

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Target users

From tech-savvy to beginners

Based on data collected by the client, we were able to identify two main target groups:

  • tech-savvy users at ease with the technology

  • users with little to no experience with connected products and who have recently purchased one (because of children, spouse, etc...)

We were able to test our new flows on six users, all corresponding to one of the previously mentioned groups.

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All users presented throughout this page have been anonymised and given another name

Crafting new instinctive user journeys

Usability testing

Having worked on a new prototyped version of the flows, I started preparing the usability testing session. Our goal during the session was to know:

  • how many users knew about Geofencing

  • how easy/instinctive it is to understand and use this trigger

  • how easy/instinctive it is to access a scene in the app

  • if users see a real added value in triggers and why/why not?

  • which new features could we implement within the Geofencing trigger?

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Interview blueprint

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Testing of the different interfaces through screen sharing


Once the interviews were carried out, we proceeded with the card-sorting to understand what needed to be improved and changed.

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Positive feedback

Throughout this whole design process, we discovered that:

  • triggers and automation tools in general are perceived as modern, powerful, and motivating to use.

  • once we showed users what Geofencing is and how to use it, they were very interested in it

  • users saw a real added value in having triggers in the app in terms of ecology, financial savings, security, and comfort

Pain points

The major issues users had when attempting to use triggers was:

  • there are too many different triggers that users didn't know about, let alone how to use them.

The major issue users had with a smart app in general is:

  • the fear of being hacked: some users considered an all-automated home to be the ideal pray for hackers

Next steps

Thanks to the research, we were able to identify the main steps to implement to improve the experience around the triggers:

  • an onboarding procedure for the different triggers once the user gets to the scene features

  • have pre-installed scenes (all doors shut, all blinds closed, etc...) which can be customized by users through triggers

  • a visual display of how much energy/money the user saves through triggers such as Geofencing.

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