If you are not living all these times on a secluded island in the middle of the Pacific it is very unlikely that you have not heard the buzz about Internet of Things. What was once just a hype in the tech circles now became a loud buzz and is becoming louder. Internet of Things evolved from so-called smart home gadgets to workplace connected solutions to robust solutions for smart city environments. It is practically going to encompass every sphere of life and living.
With so much on offer from this new horizon of technology, what are going to be the most important design requirements for IoT devices? Well, just like any new technology the standards are yet to be shaped here. This is why we are venturing here to bring forth some of the most important design tips for Internet of Things devices.
Internet of Things has big things in stake and accordingly we are going to offer here most relevant design tips for IoT devices of the future.
Helping users to learn quickly
Learnability is crucial for any tech interface and device and IoT devices are no different in this respect. How can users learn about using IoT devices? Is it going to happen through advertising or through social media? Or, is it going to happen through word of mouth network in real life?
Well, while through all these and many other channels users can learn about your products, how you describe and present your product and usability features will ensure better learnability and corresponding user experience.
The Onboarding experience
No, we are not talking here about the app onboarding experience. It is the onboarding experience concerning the initial setting up of the IoT gadget and using it for specific purposes we are talking about here. An IoT device can be used in a variety of home ambiances with a different ecosystem of existing devices. Naturally, the design should address a variety of user situations and aspects like portability, compatibility, and relevance.
As connected devices are continuing to become commonplace, concerns over security are rising. The rapid proliferation of devices and connected interfaces across different facets of life making privacy, accessibility and data security more vulnerable to threats and intrusions.
Let us explain with examples why device level security playing such a crucial role in the IoT environment. Any smart home device through its advanced sensors and connected apps can process tons of important data about a home environment. Naturally, users are likely to feel the threat of security breaches to gain unsolicited access to their private data.
With so many risks and vulnerabilities at stake, IoT apps and devices have to be well equipped to address the security concerns. Besides ensuring secure authentication with latest technologies like a biometric signature, encrypted data storage and robust cloud backups are necessary to ensure optimum security for the data storage.
Designing apps with the larger picture in mind
Unlike other mobile apps IoT apps are different in terms of usability, control and accessibility of a variety of interfaces. While a mobile app is only designed for s niche app usage and audience, IoT apps can be used by anyone using that connected device in a variety of environments.
Unlike traditional mobile apps IoT apps are not designed to serve specific purpose and function, but they are destined to make using a device easier. By their very nature, they need to establish communication and connectivity between the devices and the control mechanism of the app. Thus they serve a whole ecosystem of apps rather than any specific niche function. The ultimate objective of such apps is to ensure total connectivity.
Use a readymade platform
Unleashing your IoT device and the connected app on an existing platform will help fast paced development concentrating on the key features. This is why it is advisable to use readymade platform for your IoT offerings. Most ready-made platforms come well equipped with the tiers for ingestion and analytics and this helps the developers to concentrate solely on the end product.
Presently you have such complete platforms built by many new companies including Ubidots, Xively, and others. Besides Google, Apple Microsoft Intelligent Systems Service, a whole range of new platforms are emerging to offer sophisticated IoT platforms.
Make IoT apps scalable
Scalability is a critical concern for IoT apps. Though IoT is still in its nascent state of development, it is going to be the biggest area of technology with a robust volume of connected devices to be used in all walks of life. This huge and rich ecosystem of a multitude of devices demands the apps to be more scalable. The increasing volume of devices in the IoT landscape needs apps to be able to scale up.
Tailored data to address unique needs
IoT apps are supposed to handle data for device automation and control. Naturally, data needs to be tailored for usage as per user needs. Addressing end user requirements with the tailored purpose oriented information will play a key role. Making specific data available for a particular purpose of interaction with the connected devices is key here. The user experience in IoT devices often depends on the way data is made available for device level interactions.
Effective UX/UI design
How well UX/UI design is conceived and carried out to make the end user experience better is critical to the success of IoT as a whole. Internet of Things technology with smart device interactions must facilitate absolute ease of use, easy access to relevant device data, robust security and quick navigation to app features and control functions. Through an ecosystem of devices and apps, it should help users find solutions the IoT devices are meant for.
For designing UX/UI for IoT devices and apps designers must ensure a fluid, clear, high performance and meaningful experience for end users. Without these attributes, IoT is nothing but an overhyped illusion catering huge volumes of information without any significant result for the users.
By Keval Padia,
Keval Padia is a Founder & CEO at Nimblechapps, a fast-growing web app development, and Android watch app development company. The current innovation and updates of the field lure him to express his views and thoughts on certain topics.