How can we make an electricity app that gives the user good overview over their electricity consumption?

Exam in Interaction Design 2

Through this exam that lasted for about four months I worked with two other students, where we designed and then user tested an electricity smart app, with the goal of creating a good solution to this problem.

Focus: Design principles, user testing and justification of design choices.

The exam assignment

Create an "electricity smart app/service", which makes it easier for people to have an overview or control over things that have to do with electricity and electricity consumption.

It can be anything from a control for smart homes where users can control or program in their own consumption, to control the solar cell system on the roof / wind turbine in the garden with sync to grid suppliers for possible sale of surplus electricity, or other aspects of use and public mass production of electricity / energy.

My role

I naturally became a group leader in this project, and my responsibilities was designing and overseeing designs, incorporating design theory, creating documents, as well as organizing and executing user tests

The result

Grade: A

The final product is "ion" - An intuitive electricity smart app with smart home controls and a clean design, where users can easily get an overview over electricity prices and their electricity consumption, in addition to control their home devices.

After testing the prototype with four different test participants we discovered that the test object generally had good usability, but with some areas with poor usability. The test object also had a high degree of user satisfaction. In the final rendition we fixed the areas with poor usability through design changes.

"A very thorough user testing and report. Plus points for extra references. I have very little to critique here. Super!"

Sturla Bakke, Lecturer in Interaction Design 2, Høyskolen Kristiania

How we approached the assignment

We started with brainstorming what kind of electricity smart app we wanted to design and got inspiration from existing electricity apps, as well as smart home apps. Furthermore, we researched and defined the target group and discovered their needs. The target group and reasoning can be found in the written report. Afterwards, we had a brainstorm session about what the users should be able to do in the app and created several sketches on a whiteboard.

In the second process we created a sitemap, as well as designing several low-fidelity wireframes with many different variations. We then discussed the wireframes and combined the best ones and ended up with a final set of wireframes ready to be user tested.

During the third process we made usability tasks, wrote the script, created the document for insights and observations and defined the usability goals. We also recruited four test participants. In the user tests, there were two observers, the facilitator and the participant, and I was an observer twice and a facilitator twice. After each test we went through the observations and graded them on a consequence scale and labeled them as “selected insights”.

After all the user tests were completed, we assessed if the selected insights were big enough of a problem - If they were, they were put into a backlog and prioritized from 1 to 5 and assigned to a team member who was responsible to solve the problem. All team members also came up with possible suggestions to solve the problems.