Honeywell Thermostat Redesign Crack at it #1

In IDSE 201, we’re redesigning a Honeywell Thermostat unit.  The original unit, as I described in my first post, is a “disaster.”  What I mean by this is that the interface is so complex and unintuitive that it is nearly impossible to navigate.  The user can’t learn the map of the system and then use it to navigate to other parts of the interface.  They are just constantly trying to figure out how to get from one place to another.  Even the previous and cancel buttons are inconsistent in their use and placement.  An interface such as the iphone teaches the user that certain paths and gestures produce predictable results, allowing for intuitive navigation.  This system does none of that.  It does try and inform you of current traffic situations, though. What!? Exactly.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I’m interested in designing a thermometer that is as intuitive as possible to use for the homeowner.  I wanted the next step of each task to be intuitive on the screen.

In order to create a design that would allow the user to navigate through the interface in the most intuitive and effective way to reach a goal (in this case, heating and cooling via thermostat), we used a method called wireframing to create a physical rendition of the thermostat interface.   The ideal design will bridge a gap between the function of the thermostat and the user’s understanding of it ….to achieve a goal.  In this case, the larger goal being temperature comfort inside of one’s home.

I think of wireframes physically as being kind of like a skeleton- physically, they form the way that the system will function and how one thing’s action or movement affects another.  But, they don’t allude to the actual physical manifestation of the device, much like how skeletons don’t give much indication of whether someone will be pretty or ugly, fat or skinny.

Onto my design concerns: I wanted to build in “learning” technology, because I am not interested in thermostats.  I am interested in thermostats doing their job and me not having to do much to understand them.  So, I want the thermostat to learn what I like.  I am a creature of habit. I turn the air down when I go to bed and then up when I get up.  Every day. So, I want it to learn from me and then do the rest.  In the two screens below, you see the homescreen and  below that the learning status prompt.  The homescreen displays the current room temp, arrows to toggle the temp up and down, a system on/off button.   It also offers buttons to navigate into the climate control space, to edit the schedule manually, and to hold the temperature outside of the schedule.  Here’s some things that I would like to happen:  I don’t want anything displayed on the homescreen when it’s not “alive” than just the temp.  For aesthetic reasons.   I also am finding that as I build this system to the specifications of the assignment, it grows further away from the simple and navigate-able interface that I want to design.  So, I am finding that I need to go back in and re-simplify.  

View Full PDF of Wireframes