Overview

This is a further developed verison of the Power Automation project, our design was chosen to be taken further into development as a group project. Our brief was to integrate what we had done with the branding of Flick Electric. The model for these changes were based on extensive user research, testing, background research, and more. I did this as a group project with @KalebCampbell and three other group members.

  • Employer: University Project
  • Website: View XD file
  • Completed: June 2019

Introduction

Energy is one of the critical resources we all rely on today, and for Kiwis, it’s one of the main bills that we must pay every month. Recent increases in costs of living have people looking for ways to save on their bills. With increasing population and strong opposition to nuclear power here, this is only going to become more of a problem. There is also, a strong social push for people to reduce their carbon footprint, and people are starting to realize that your carbon footprint is directly proportional to your power usage. Directly integrating a home automation system with your energy provider is a fantastic way to save on our power bills and reduce our carbon footprint.

The Flick energy app will provide this direct home automation and be a way for consumers to have more control over the way they buy electricity as well as how they use electricity. The app aims to present the users with clear and easy to understand information about electricity market prices, their personal power usage, and their carbon footprint so they can make informed decisions about their future power consumption. It will also allow users to remotely automate or adjust their appliances.

Background Research - Revised

Existing Solutions

There are several companies that allow users to have, to some degree, control over their electricity usage, such as Flick, energyclubnz, Electric Kiwi, and Energy Online, but none of them provides full integration with a home automation system...

Business Objectives

As the government tries to reach their sustainability goals they will push residents to have smart home systems and increased awareness about home automation to help lower the impact of climate change, partially when building new homes...

Stakeholders

The pieces of this project exist already, but there is no complete solution, so it is important to the whole market as it will be a flagship product. The app is important to customers as it is the only way for them to get all the information about their electricity usage electricity costs, payments due, etc...

User Scenarios

A series of scenarios a user may need out of a home automation site, this includes: Checking power consumption, checking costs against other companies, viewing appliance history, paying bills online, turning off a device, recieving updates on outages, checking bills, accessing help documentation, creating accounts, adding devices, and more.

User Personas

Before merging our personas, we brainstormed the most important people in which we would be wanting to represent.

We recognised a tension between trying to represent a diverse set of users and getting too stuck on 'edge cases' that do not recognise a large amount of the user base.

Looking at the individuals between our team members, we noticed that the majority of the personas created had saving money as a key motivator (above helping the environment). We decided to reflect this difference by having 3 of our personas (Marc, Jim and Susan) list their core motivation as financial, and two personas (Lisa and Trace) with an environmental core motivation.

We also noticed that among us, the majority of our personas were under 35. Again, we tried to reflect this in our merged personas by describing three personas under 35 (Marc, Susan and Trace), and two over 35 (Lisa and Jim).

Before merging our personas, we picked out five personas from our group members' contributions that would act as 'base' personas for the merge. We then went through each of the remaining personas and picked out key points that we wanted represented still. We then incorporated these points into the 'base' personas. Finally, we read through all of the personas together, and edited them to ensure they made sense with each other, and that each persona was distinct enough to give important and new information.

Marc

Marc is a 26 year old young professional living in Wellington CBD. He has recently purchased a new house and is therefore concerned about budgeting and using his money wisely...

Jim

Jim is an 70 year old pensioner, he lives with his wife Sally in a two bedroom unit in Lyall Bay. Jim has been retired for 3 years, but he used to work as an electrician. Now that him and Sally...

Susan

Susan is a 29 year old software developer. She has worked hard to develop her career, but still has a very large student loan. This weighs on her, as well as her boyfriend’s equally large loan...

Lisa

Lisa is thirty-eight years old and works in marketing. She has one daughter who is currently five years old. She feels that she has worked hard to gain a position as a partner...

Design Ideations

Our proposed designs were all about the same project, but had a few key differences between them. Two of us designed for a mobile interface, and the other three designed a desktop website. One of us designed the app as if it was a service of Flick Electric, one of us as if it was a service of a hypothetical power company, and three of us designed the app as if it was a separate service, agnostic of the power company the user is with. All but one of us had some concept of automation in the app, i.e turning devices on and off based on various conditions. In terms of color, three of us chose blue as a primary color, and two of us chose yellow.

These differences are summarised in this gitlab:

G I T L A B

Design Evaluations

As this was a group project, the first step was to evaluate the other projects. This was to determine which ones we should bring through to further development. I used the heuristic method to evaluate the projects.

Heuristic Evaluation #1

Heuristic Evaluation #2

Heuristic Evaluation #3

Heuristic Evaluation #4

Usability Test Plan

This document explains our plan for conducting a usability test during the first phase of the development of the Flick Energy App. The goals of usability testing include establishing a baseline of user performance, establishing and validating user performance measures, and identifying potential design concerns to be addressed in order to improve the efficiency, productivity, and end-user satisfaction with a particular focus on determining user ease of access and system intuitiveness.

The usability test objectives are:

  • To determine design inconsistencies and usability problem areas within the user interface and content areas. Potential sources of error may include: Navigation errors, Presentation errors.
  • Exercise the application or web site under controlled test conditions with representative users. Data will be used to access whether usability goals regarding an effective, efficient, and well-received user interface have been achieved.
  • Establish baseline user performance and user-satisfaction levels of the user interface for future usability evaluations.
  • Methodology & Script

    This is out testing methodology, our testing script can be viewed here is gitlab too.

    Procedure

    Users will attempt to complete six key tasks from our scenario list. Prior to the test, the users will be given a brief overview of the system...
    Roles each of us played while user testing, my role was a data logger. This involved writing down what the main takeaways were from the testing...
    In order to gain effective feedback regarding the usability of our system, we need to gain key feedback at two distinct points in the usability test. This is where we have documented this.

    Usability Goals

    Failing to achieve a goal on the task/feature level will result in a full investigation and exploration of a redesign of the feature. This will be informed by answers to the qualitative questions presented...

    Problem Severity

    At the end of the testing, key issues will be identified using both quantitative and qualitative answers. The key issues will then be collated prioritised according to the impact they create...

    Usability Test Plan

    This document explains our plan for conducting a usability test during the first phase of the development of the Flick Energy App. The goals of usability testing include establishing a baseline of user performance, establishing and validating user performance measures, and identifying potential design concerns to be addressed in order to improve the efficiency, productivity, and end-user satisfaction with a particular focus on determining user ease of access and system intuitiveness.

    R e s u l t s

    Prototype walkthrough

    Here is a video walkthrough of our final product!

    Contact Me

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    emilyashawdesign@gmail.com