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Energy Saver 

 

Experience Design, in partnership with GenGame Ltd., 1st Semester MA,

6 weeks, 2020/21,  

Contextual Research, Ideation, Experience Prototyping with users, 

UI Design, product pitch

 

 

 

Context

My Role

Methods

 

Tools

Pen & Paper, Marvel App, Sketch, Adobe Illustrator

 

Interview, Simple Diary Study, HMWs, Concept Mapping, Persona, Wireframes, Scenario   

 

The Brief

There are lots of interrelated factors that contribute to climate change, but scientists agree that human activity is leading to

Global Warming.  The UK government wants every home in the UK to have been offered a smart meter by 2025. Smart Meters enable timely and accurate billing, can increase understanding of energy use in the home, and support the transition to renewable energy and electric vehicles. Data across households can be combined to predict peaks in demand which ultimately can help maximise use of renewable energy from wind and solar.

 

But, despite the on-going rollout of smart meters, most people still pay little attention to how energy is used in their homes. They are often unaware of how much energy is being consumed and how they can make significant energy savings. Generally, energy use is viewed as intangible and complex. Whilst awareness and concern about climate change is rising, most people have little idea how they can make changes to their domestic energy use that will help make a meaningful difference to carbon emission reduction.

The brief in partnership with GenGame Ltd. was

"Design a mobile app that utilises smart meter data to reduce the negative impact of domestic energy consumption."

Existing Data

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The first step was to set a target user group based on secondary research on the brief. Here it was important to choose users which are reachable in order to conduct primary research methods. The chosen target user group was  middle aged couples living in Germany who are tech savvy and use smart tech to create their desired home. 

Defined Target User Group

As a starting point for research, existing insights were used, using the Home Life Insight Cards which are based on insights from the LEEDR (Low Effort Energy Demand Reduction) project by Loughborough University. All Insights were reviewed and appropriate ones were chosen. 

Key Insights

Research Personas from the LEEDR project and proto personas were also reviewed and appropriate personas were chosen and adapted to the target user group. The "Principled Sceptics Family" who is sceptic about putting themselves out when others just carry on regardless was chosen. 

Personas

Contextual Research

"How might we design a mobile app for Middle Ages German couples, who are using smart home technology to create their desired atmosphere of home, that utilises smart meter data to encourage them to engage more with their domestic energy consumption?" 

Based on the existing Data and a range of set assumptions the above stated "HMW statement" was generated and used as a starting point for contextual research. The research included interviews with target users as well as a simple diary study. The process was guided by research questions that were set before. 

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Interview with target user

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Use of smart home technologies - Diary Study

Ideation & Concept Development

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By considering Key Insights from existing data and primary research a concept mapping and brainstorming was carried out. This resulted in a first concept which was tested directly with a user by using experience prototyping. 

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Simple wireframes visualising a concept idea. The aim of the concept is to create a community feeling by creating groups with friends and to make energy saving more feasible for the user. Saved energy is converted into CO2 and then into km which is used for a gamification aspect in form of a race. As the voice assistant was the most common used smart gadget, the assistant plays also a role in the concept. 

"When three Germany meet they found a club."

In order to iterate the concept and to quickly gain feedback from the users early in the process, experience prototyping was conducted. A simple, clickable lo-fi prototype was created for this purpose and a scenario tested with a user.

Experience prototyping showed that the group spirit, gamification aspect and integration of the voice assistant "Alexa" stood out very positively and made sense to the user. However, it made clear that people prefer to join existing clubs instead of creating small groups. 

Concept 

The following product video describes the app and an example scenario. 

 
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Badges

Personalised Home Page

Groups

My Key Learnings

#Working with existing Insights and Personas

#Remote Product Pitch Presentations

#Iterate!