The connected home is accessible nowadays and the "Internet of Things" became a buzz word. However, the smart home sometimes seems more like an enemy than a friend. Devices and applications for home automation are complicated, hard to use, dumb and niche. Soy's goal is to make home automation easy to understand, intelligent, delightful and playful.
Interact via Messaging for Devices Setup, Recipe Creation, Recipe Discovery and Debugger. You can also talk with Soy about non-device matters: Weather Checker, Package Checker, Energy Stats and Police Reports.
Soy is a social butterfly. Talk with Soy about friends location, Virtual Home and Life Blogger.
I led a brainstorm session with the team to define Soy appearance and personality. We wanted to create a character with a fun and friendly personality.
With the direction defined, I created several options. We tested with users and moved on with a yellow octopus (several arms to deal with everything at home) that has dog ears (friendly and always attentive).
The first communication channel of Soy is its website. The goal of an informative and delightful website is to attract more partners to Soy’s platform.
The website’s cover is an animation that can be used as example of Soy capabilities. Chat bubbles pop up asking soy to turn on the lights on sunset. The background image reacts to that by showing the sky getting dark and the lights turning on. The website was build to adapt to any size of screen: form smartphone devices to high definition displays.
Control and Interact with your smart home through messaging. Want to set up a schedule to turn your lights on everyday at 8pm? Simply message Soy to “turn on lights everyday at 8pm.” It’s that simple. No more digging through layers of pages, buttons and rules to perform simple or complex tasks.
In order to allow people to test the platform and the chat experience before committing to it, we created an illustrated house with a text field, in which users can “talk” with saw and send basic commands like “turn lights on”, “open garage’s door”.
I illustrated the entire house together with sprites for the animation. The illustration includes all the devices that Soy integrates to. Besides giving the user a clue of how Soy works, it also offers insights on how to use Soy to automate a home. Users had a great time playing with the demo and experiment the chat platform for Internet of Things.
The on boarding and setup is a crucial part of the product, because that is when the users integrate Soy to their Smart Home Platform. Soy works with Smartthings, Philips Hue, Wink and Lifx. Users are requested to connect Soy to at least one of those platforms.
User tests before implementation helped us to improve the On-Boarding flow by making it less linear and giving user more freedom to navigate (see bellow).
After on-boarding, the users start thein "in-life cycle". For that, the experience needed to be very simple with little interactions. A very simple chat interface with Material Design looking and feel was created to bring the user the idea of simplicity. The settings screen is also very simple.
Besides being an octopus with dog ears, Soy is also a very intelligent robot able to understand texting, interact with humans and learn with use. Most of the efficience of the user interaction relies on the technology behind Soy. Undertanding that was a risk with outcomes that were hard to predict, we decided to give users a try and track every part of the experience in order to identify possible user's frustations.
We distributed the application to several users that were in our data-base. The expectation was to see if users would respond well to the conversational control for their Smart Homes. This test is currently in progress.
With the findings of the 2-week test, we expect to evaluate possible expansion for Soy platform, including new partners and new possibilities with conversional user interface.
We'll be in touch soon!