ENERGY SHIFT: REDUCING HOUSEHOLD ENERGY CONSUMPTION
User Research Journey Mapping User Experience Design UI Design
A university project focused on user research; this was done as part of the optional UX module I took as part of my product design degree. The project focused on the first halve of a UI project, meaning the research, empathising, and ideation stage.
We were given the brief to design an app to help reduce the energy consumption of a household. It was up to us to do the rest, including deciding who we were designing for. This project was a team project consisting of 5 members, all designers. There were no specific tasks as we did all the work together, sharing the workload as we went along.
This project faced several challenges, including the pandemic, as this project started as lockdown did, meaning everything had to be done remotely, and we were banned from conducting any user research for ethical reasons. The app was designed in a week to complete the project, but there was no focus on the UI design for this project.
USER EXPERIENCE DESIGNER
As part of the project, I helped with user research, including journey mapping, creating personas, and empathising with our users.
I was the sole UI designer for this project creating the UI on Figma, with input from team members and some pre-defined directions.
To help reduce energy consumption for a household.
WHAT IS ENERGYSHIFT?
Modern houses are full to the brim with electronic devices and heating, which alongside rising prices, means an average households energy bill has skyrocketed and many families cash out a lot of money paying for their electricity. But houses are inefficient, and so are people when it comes to saving/reducing their power consumption, Energyshift was created to help with this.
Energyshift focuses on a family working from home or running a home side hustle, and how they can reduce their electricity. Through an interactive AR experience, the user can use Energyshift to be guided around their home and notified of all the devices that are left on at the wrong times. Energyshift links to your works calendar, so it knows at what times you should be where, and lets you know if there are devices on elsewhere unnecessarily, for example, if you've just finished your lunch break, but left your TV and kitchen lights on, the app will notify you and guide you to turn them off.
Consumers are constantly choosing the environmentally friendly alternative, so imagine how attractive a certified low emission badge would look on your Etsy store? Energyshift has this covered. Built in business running functionality helps motivate home side hustlers to create with green in mind by a gamification process of setting goals and rewarding with certified badges and certificates to display on their websites.
Users can customise the app to match their house, this includes setting up each device they want to synch, with personalisation options such as naming, tagging, and custom icons.
Managing the large number of devices a user can have can be tricky, but through filters and grouping, devices can be easily stored and found. This can be done by room, by use, and by device type.
To provide a quick, easy and clear overview into a users tracking history, simple graphs have been made as infographics to allow users to easily compare their use at a single glance.
An interactive AR experience where the user is guided through their house is featured, this uses a series of electronic current "guides" that vary in size depending on the power consumption of the device it's for. These guides draw routes around the users house to the relevant device that is left on, which the user can follow to find and switch off. It's designed to be fun and interactive to help kids get involved.
Synching the app to a users work calendar allows the app to make intelligent decisions as to what devices should be off at what time, for example, as the user finishes their day, the app will send reminders to turn off all work related devices that they'll no longer need.
The project started with stating challenges to do with energy reduction, each of our team members spent 3 hours doing some secondary research into energy reduction apps and existing methods, and what issues these apps are facing, and why they might not be working. Once informed, we all came back together and listed the challenges we had gathered, and talked through each one as a team.
ASSUMPTIONS AND QUESTIONS
Similar to above, we did research into the more human side, and listed our current assumptions and questions around energy reduction, and why people are currently struggling to make the personal switch to lower their emissions. These were based on our own experiences, and secondary research.
It was important to narrow down who we would be solving for. Based on the previous research and discussions, we had started to highlight some groups of people who had their own issues and struggles with energy reduction, taking note of these groups, and grouping them into similar themes resulted in a series of potential user bases to solve for. Dot voting on these groups allowed us to choose the group going forward. This group was based around families and helping to get kids involved, as well as those working from home.
Taking forward our chosen user group, we could assign the previous listed challenges, assumptions and questions against this user group, this helped to narrow down the issues we would target to solve, and really focus in on the problem. Further secondary research was done into each of the user groups to help understand.
Looking above at the empathy map, a hunt statement was generated after several iterations. This gave us a frame of reference to constantly design for and keep in mind, to ensure that we were solving the relevant problem and not going off track.
Journey mapping was a crucial step. This helped to translate the pre-defined issues into a linear time line, and for us to put them into context. We empathised with the user group by following their daily routine, and when each of these issues would occur, based around their working from home daily schedule. It focused on the doing, thinking, feeling, pain points and insights for each stage of the working from home day. Similar issues were grouped, and the common themes taken forward.
HOW MIGHT WE STATEMENTS
The above user journey was grouped, and the relevant insights extracted. These insights can be seen in their groups below, these groups formed the main basis of the exact issues we would be solving for, and we could base our ideation around. Each insight group was translated into a HMW statement, which allowed for easier ideation.
It's always important to have a persona to help ground the design process, and ensure we are always designing for the user and not just for the sake of designing. This persona highlighted a mother working from home full time, with a side hustle. The details can be seen below, the persona was created off the insights gathered, so was based on research.
Some initial discussions were done based around the how might we statements. 3-4 solutions were created in direct response to each of the HMW statements listed below, this was done so we could sketch ideate each of the solutions we'd come up with.
Using a game of crazy eights, and some later refinement ideation, we each ideated on each of the solutions shown above, these sketches were produced in direct response to each solution. These were created individually, and then we came back together and presented each idea to the team, discussed it through, and then dot voted on our favourite ones to take forward.
The project finished once the chosen directions were established with the above ideation sketches. But as a personal project I decided to take it through to completion using an iterative design process consisting of a few wireframed versions, into a high-fidelity app, the final screens shown below were created.