cleaning up design complication

Designing a thermostat has proven to be a more complicated process than I assumed. My biggest challenge has been taking a layout or idea and explaining it in a way that makes sense. I have spent the last couple weeks using thermostats and talking to people about their own thermostat. This is for a class project in IDSE 201 on redesigning a Honeywell Thermostat.

I began with different variations of abstract ideas for designing a thermostat. I was fixated on appearance with the thermostat and how the device would look. By approaching the assignment this way I ended up with many bad interaction flows. I began to make things more confusing and nonfunctional with interactions that were not intuitive. A common response that I got was “what is this?”  I had to scrap many ideas and start over multiple times until I figured out to leave the device out of the process for now.

I shifted my focus onto the thermostat’s functions and features. To help organize the complex Honeywell design I recreated its features in a concept model.  This is the current concept model of the Honeywell Thermostat.

What became evident after making this concept model is that there are a lot of upgrades to this thermostat that made it more than just a thermostat. Fundamentally, people look at a thermostat and ask it to do two things: make me warm or make me cold. The Honeywell Thermostat does this and it also has other features as well.

The most complicated feature was the option to set the thermostat to a schedule.  Features had settings that would allow a user to program leave time and get home time in order to fluidly keep temperatures at certain point. To do this users have to go through a series of questions that are confusing and ambiguous. Below is my attempt on understanding the Honeywell Thermostat and interpreting it a different way.  Primary function: Heating and Cooling. Secondary function: Fan, Schedule, Info.