Masters Project briefed by GenGame • 9 Weeks • Individual project
User Research • UX Design • UI Design
Design a mobile app that utilizes smart meter data to create a meaningful engagement with energy usage and reduce the negative impact of domestic energy consumption.
High Fidelity Home Page UI • Product Presentation
I have started my exploration from learning how smart meter works to see my opportunities and limitations so I can set a frame for my research.
Smart meters are self-reading gas and electricity meters that show how much energy is used in both metrics and pounds on a portable in-home display in near real-time. It enables you to set budgets and monitors your progress in achieving them. It can utilise a direct connection to the cloud, through the IoT Gateway, or an integration with a third-party system for connectivity.
Then I explored conventional energy consumption monitors, gas and electricity adjustment parts and their interactions, energy bill cycles in my place in the UK. This observations resulted in a self-reflection of how energy consumption interactions were different from my home country and I wondered how changing the country for a long term affects people's energy consumption behaviours.
Setting a Target Group
I choose young international professionals (expats) because they have a busy lifestyle because of their work-life meanwhile familiarising themselves with a different climate and a country which may cause frustrations or excess energy consumption.
Most of the internationals live in big cities, so they mostly live in shared houses, which I assume may bring another level to shape their energy consumption, which may bring a meaningful opportunity to use the smart meter in their homes.
Research Hunt Statement
I am going to research energy consumption behaviour on heating with young international professionals (expats) who moved to the UK from a warmer country for a new life and living in a shared house so that I can design an app that utilizes smart meter data to help them to reduce their energy consumption.
4 Online Semi-Structured Interviews
I recruited participants with the convenience method due to their closeness and availability, and then I used snowballing.
All participants were from Mediterranean countries and they moved to the UK to a new life. They all lived in shared houses so far, experiencing different cultural behaviours of their international flatmates.
Due to Covid restrictions, all sessions took place online. All sessions were recorded with the consent of the participants.
Analysis & Insights
I used the otter.ai app for transcribing my interviews; then, I synthesised key findings from them with my interview notes. Even though I had a short time for analysis, the insights were out there, and they justified my assumptions about the target group.
I prepared a persona to better understand and define my target group and used it as a guide for my ideation processes. I revisited and make updates throughout the ideation process since experience and task goals were evaluated and changed organically. The final version of my persona is below.
Crafting Vision Statement & Generating Opportunities
I framed my vision statement for the product to lead my ideation by articulating the target group and the pain points. Then I generated opportunity statements to solve these pain points utilising smart meter data and create a positive impact on the energy consumption of the target group.
Develop & Deliver Phases
I built a concept map to articulate the functions and characteristics of the product. It also helped me to prioritise features, let go of less helpful ideas and focus on the main feature.
This map changed according to user feedback and design decisions throughout the design process. The concept map below is the last version of it.
Wireframing & Concept Evaluation tests
I made sketch wireframes of the main features and onboarding flows to validate my concept through user testing. I used the marvel app to create a lo-fi prototype from these sketches and tested it with 2 participants. Then made iterations on the concept regarding the feedback from the users.
Correct clothes - less laundry
What I learned
I enjoyed working on a fast pace project with the lean methodology, which focused mainly on the experience design based on quick and dirty research, then concept evaluation with users and iterating of the concept.
I learned that evaluating concepts at an early stage with user testing can save a huge amount of time and energy.
Setting a UX Vision Statement before starting the ideation - even though ideas start popping up while gathering insights - is quite helpful to build more defined and to-the-point products with less distraction.
Due to time limitations, I could only test my concept with the primary users. However, bill sharing and energy leaderboard features aim to include other members of the flatshare. I would have tested them with those users to see if they could achieve the engagement I planned.