Ideal Thermostat – Iteration #3: Fixing Functionality

Last week you saw the second iteration of my ideal thermostat. I had reworked the scheduling interface, adjusted the aesthetics of the entire layout, and had become excited with the idea of adding a home and away toggle so the thermostat could more easily adapt the inconsistent schedules many of us have.

While I made great strides in the scheduling interfaces, I hadn’t made enough adjustments to the home screen icons to make them understandable. Many of my user testing participants struggled to locate which of the three icons they needed to touch to perform simple tasks like switching between heating and cooling mode.

This week I addressed these issue head on. During my discussion with Matt, it became clear that scheduling stuck out since it’s functionality was so different from the toggle menus of the icons around it. I integrated my idea of the away and home toggle switch with the scheduling so that there were two separate screens on the thermostat that could be switched between; manual mode and scheduling mode. This left much more room on the screen to visualize each option of the system and fan settings.

Annotated wireframes of this iteration can be found here.

This new manual mode screen proved to be very understandable during think aloud user testing. However, I seem to have back tracked in my new concept for the schedule mode screen.  Once again I feel like my tasks may have been poorly worded, but more likely my design implementation was flawed.

Users have not been fully understand the time and temperature pairing as I visualized it. This became especially clear when I asked them to skip ahead to a temperature setting that was scheduled for later in the day. I don’t think they understood why you would want to skip ahead. I think having the time prominently displayed on the left threw off users. The visual style of the blocks also does not indicate it’s scroll-ability which is something I will need to work on.

Back to the drawing board!