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"Siri, did I leave the oven on?" - designing for connected homes

  • Claire Rowland
  • Sep 26, 2012
  • English

The idea of the connected home has been around for 40 years or more, but has never taken off as a mass market proposition.  But this is changing.  Mainstream retailers are starting to bring out connected home hardware and services to help consumers understand and control their energy use and heating, secure their homes, know who's in and out, be alerted to any emergencies and generally feel reassured that everything's OK at home.  It will soon be normal to turn lights and appliances on and off from your smartphone, and set your burglar alarm over the web.

UX is key to turning interesting niche technologies into mass market successes.  But the home is a challenging environment: it’s often a shared space inhabited by different people with different needs and goals, and it’s our refuge from the world: the last place any of us want to feel overwhelmed by technology.

In this talk, I'll cover:

  • what connected home technologies can do, and why this space holds so many opportunities
  • why no-one has got connected home design right (yet), and how experience design is key to creating commercially successful services in this area
  • practical lessons learnt from doing rapid UX concept design of connected home in a startup environment

Claire Rowland

Service Design Manager at

Claire heads up service design at AlertMe, a connected home platform provider.  She has worked in UX design and research for 14 years for companies such as Razorfish, Flow Interactive and Fjord.

She remembers designing for graceful degradation in Netscape 2, and has cheered along as the web broke free of the desktop, screens got both smaller and bigger, and services emerged spanning multiple devices, some without screens at all.

She is excited about the quiet stealth with which mundane things are becoming connected and is looking forward to seeing the impact this has on everyday life.

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