“86% – The largest renting cohort (millennials) are willing to pay one-fifth more for a smart apartment with a smart lock, automated thermostat, or lighting controls.”
That’s a pretty powerful statement and fact.
In mid-July 2016, Blake Miller, CEO of Homebase.ai, came to me for the redesign of their mobile experience empowering users to lock, adjust, and control their lifestyles.
“We have to bring simplicity into a busy lifestyle” and provide a way for users to control their lights, locks, and doors, simply. Without question or payment, I agreed. (both were decided later but, c’mon)
Homebase.ai had a great concept to start with but they weren’t 100% sure of how the millennial or non-millennial (like me) would use this app but they knew they had to build it and the opportunity ahead of them.
Again, I agreed.
Working hand in hand with Homebase.ai’s Product Manager and their previous concepts I started exploring the competition and doing tons of research. The competition is growing by leaps and bounds, and at the time there was a lot of inspiring concepts in the market.
Next, I jumped into some of the sketches around the basic feature set Homebase.ai was looking to manage through their app:
* Climate control
* Lights control
* Locks control
* Creation of Scenes/Routines or Moods
* User Profile
* Monitor activities by the user
Some of the questions I had to ask and solve for:
* How would a user control a light? On or off? Colors? Hues?
* How would a user control a lock? Most apartments only have a front door? What if they had a patio? Garage door?
* How would a user control the climate? Would they be able to switch from heat or cool? Is there an “eco” mode?
* How many of these controls could be tied to GPS of the user’s device?
* What other types of devices could be added to the app?
I did a version of high-fidelity wireframes with Sketch and Material UI to better explain the capabilities of the app and to represent the flow.
I had even thought a little farther ahead and envisioned an idea of controlling the whole apartment via a floorplan layout.
While the idea of this was exciting, the team nixed it pretty quickly for the MVP.
Once we had established a pretty quality concept of the layout and structure of screens, I continued in Sketch App and started bringing color and typography to the screens.
I started with the initial screen a user would see when opening the app on an Android device. Possibly taking on the colors of the “mood” or scene the user had setup at the time.
The team quickly wanted to move forward with the super simple blues and whites version and focus more on the functionality of the app.
Digging into the controls of the Lights:
Controlling the Climate:
Later we finalized the naming convention for the scenes/routines/moods down to “Scene, ” and we would create a “Scene Creator.”
My initial thought for editing or adding something new to the app in regards to a new light, lock, thermostat, or creating a new scene; you would have a darker interface to represent an “editing” experience. Thus you would know when you were editing vs. adjusting the stage of a control. (i.e. on, off, locked, unlocked, active, inactive)
Also, we played with an idea of having Triggers that would trigger a scene into an active or inactive state based on their Actions. Then allow them to be turned on or off.
Homebase.ai had already planned on integrating the Layer, customer conversation, and messaging platform, (https://layer.com/) into their product for communicating with tenants, maintenance, management, and payments. The communication portion of the app had already been concepted and designed for, but I wanted to take a stab at it anyway.
Click through the whole app and leave feedback if you’d like:
Stay tuned for the launch of their app and integration into apartments in 2017-18.
Learn more about http://homebase.ai/