TEN COMMANDMENTS OF UX DESIGN FOR THE INTERNET OF THINGS

For sure we are going to have more and more IOT projects in UX Design and it is the time to change our mindset about our design process for IOT projects. They are in many cases different from what we (designers) normally do in a project and here I have ten points (Commandments) for designers who are interested in IOT projects.

1-Say “Good bye” to your screens

UX designers who want to work on connected products and services must be ready to have different types of interactions and also interfaces, from one small LED to different size of the screens. There is no standard screen size and type for the interfaces that we are designing and in many cases there is even no screen at all.

2-Accept the variety

The term IOT represents the variety that we are going to deal with in UX design for IOT. Every object has the possibility of being connected and communicates with other objects and users. Some of these objects even they do not have the Input of the users.

3-Be ready for different type of interactions

The variety of Things in IOT makes it possible to have different type of interactions between users and systems. The era of clicking and tapping is over and we are going to interact with machines and products with voice, touch, gestures, physical controller and… (This will accent the job of Interaction Designers)

4-Things get physical

In the world of digital anything we have designed so far was virtual and on the 2D screens. In the IOT world is the world of tangible objects and real world. This is really important that we design a consistence experience visually and mentally for the users and also we should think about effects of one in another. For instance if you have a physical switch and you have the same feature in your UI you should keep it as a switch in UI as well and also think about different states of the both switch and their effect on each other.

5-Back to your root

We all know that UX design is coming from Industrial/Product Design and classic design world. UX design is coming out of applying Design Methodology to intangible part of products and services. With IOT it is the time to back to our root in tangible world. It does not mean that UX designers must be all Industrial Designer but they all should understand the ID tasks and integrate the ID in to the UX design process.

6-Context is the KING

Unlike the classic digital UX Design in IOT we are facing with the Real World and in real world users’ expectation is totally different and higher in many cases than virtual world. For example, you cannot give a connection error to a user who wants to open a door or turn on a light and if you do the level of frustration and negative emotional responses is really high. Designers must be really careful about the context of their design and do not go with an old mindset to the IOT projects.

7-Make it accessible

In the world of objects we have the widest range of users almost everyone can be user of your product and it is really important that what we are designing will be accessible for everyone not only healthy young people who understand new technology. Everyone can use a door opener or a light. So, this is really important to make the Things accessible to everyone with any physical shortage and disabilities.

8-Be ready for the complexity

As you can see so far, designers should deal with wider range of users, two parallel use of the system in virtual and physical world and two different types of the Design works so, “YES” this is much more complex than classic UX design for digital products and services. The successful designers in IOT projects are the ones who can handle this complexity in the best way.

9-Design it holistic and as a service

The best way to design for connected products is to look at them as a service and have a holistic view at the whole service process for design. We should know what exactly an IOT product wants to offer to the users and design the best experience for any touchpoints of that service to respond to the users’ needs. For the best result UX designers must keep the eyes open on the whole service journey and see it as one service.

10-Know your role and others

Last but not least, in the UX for IOT we have more design roles and everyone should be aware of his or her tasks in the project. For example, Interaction Design is not like classic UX project more and less part of UI design or vise versa. In IOT projects they are completely different jobs. An Interaction Designer must control all types of the interaction (physical, virtual) in the whole service and combine them in a way that provides the best harmonic experience to the users and works very close to UI Designer. They need to make research about the contexts of the users, the devices and screens they are designing for to know their limitations.