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by Panasonic

Confidential information is omitted and all the features and information described here is in conformance with non-disclosure agreement with the company.

About MirAIe

MirAIe is recently launched Smart Home platform for integrated and connected Living based on IOT and cloud.

Part of this ecosystem is MirAIe mobile app which offers connectivity across all Panasonic appliances and provides convenient smart home experience. It is launched for India, Middle East and Sri Lanka users. 

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MY ROLE

UX DESIGNER

TEAM

  • 1 UX Designer 

  • 1 Visual Designer

  • Product manager 

  • Development team,

  • Testing team & Cloud team

MY CONTRIBUTIONS

  • User insights

  • Usability Analysis

  • Interaction Design

  • Personas & Scenarios and Customer Journeys

  • Task flows

  • Wireframes & User Flows

  • Visual designs

  • Concepts for new innovative features

The Challenge

Panasonic, India Innovation Centre is recently opened centre which operates like a start up, fast paced with quick decision making. I was hired as the only UX designer for the project. I  faced two main challenges:

  • Lack of design process

  • Previously delivered designs by different  agencies which resulted in inconsistency in experiences, interactions and visual languages.

Consequently, there were many usability problems along with overcrowded designs in different modules of the app. The task was to fix the usability problems in the current version of the app and gradually improve the experience across the main features with standardisation including newly planned and upcoming ones. 

  • Usability issues

  • Disparity between feature offering and users expectations.

  • Lack of Design process

  • Visual inconsistencies

  • Non-Standardised interactions

  • Overcrowded designs

Usability Analysis & gradual UX improvements 

 I started with detailed usability analysis of existing features focusing on existing user flows and experience of main features. I gradually fixed the usability flaws in new proposed designs. In new designs I fixed below problems:

  • Fixed fundamental problems of interactions

  • Better error handling

  • Improved holistic experiences for modules

  • Improvement in consistency in interactions & visual language.

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Before

After

Introducing the process - Design Thinking

I started to set up the proper design culture and introduced Design Thinking. These Design Thinking iterations were essential to empower the design decisions and a step towards sustainable solutions. We also wanted to give our users an easier, richer and centralised smart home experience with relevant personalisation and also connect with them as a brand. I introduced the design process gradually to shape up the evolution of the product for upcoming releases. I collaborated with different stakeholders to lead the design of the new modules.

Empathise

  • User Insights from existing qualitative market research

  • Gathering feedback from customer care team

Define

  • Personas & Scenarios

  • Customer Journeys

  • Empathy Maps

Ideate

  • Brainstorming sessions

  • Task Flows

  • Low-Fi  sketches on whiteboards

  • Paper prototypes

Prototype

  • Hi-Fi wireframes

  • Interactive prototypes
  • Visual Designs

Test

  • User testing for beta versions

  • Customer feedback

Users face difficulty in Adding a new device

No option to 

request for new 

features

What are the 

frequent errors?

Frequent  Wifi

and connectivity issues

Main reasons for connectivity issues

"I Cannot share the AC control with my wife"

No proper feedback mechanism in case of errors

Frequently used devices & Modules

Some users are not

able to register a service complaint

Users are getting logged out of the app frequently

Users are busy and need help from technology, enthusiastic to try out new 

tech

App connectivity for AC is disrupted sometimes

“A lot of time is spent at work and business travel which happens a lot. The entire week just passes like this .” 

“I wake up around 5 in the morning , do kitchen work & get ready for work, and I come back by late evening, depends on workload.”

“I wake up around 5 in the morning , do kitchen work & get ready for work, and I come back by late evening, depends on workload.” Air Purifierowner, Delhi

Weekends are the

only free and family time they get

Core User Insights & Qualitative Analysis

  • I started collecting insights from existing Qualitative user research done by the marketing team.

  • I connected with customer care team to understand the issues and feedback channels with related resolutions.

  • I read through some of the user reviews on Play Store/App Store to understand major issues users faced. In several sessions we as a team  tried to ask right questions to gain insights.

  • I also did some competitor analysis for multiple features to inform our designs.

Personas and Customer Journeys

Insights collected were to be synthesised next.

I wanted to make the core of our user understanding strong because that would serve as source of truth to other upcoming features. I derived personas for main market segment and started writing scenarios which fit our Smart Home ecosystem. I wanted to resonate with the core needs of the users so that we can fill in the gaps with right features and as a brand connect with our users. As a designer the main challenge is always to find the intersection between the users needs and business needs.

Important scenarios & Empathy maps gave right context and customer journeys helped me to aligned the design process in the right direction. We needed to understand the touch points and where would our solution play an important role.

Brainstorming and Task Flows

I conducted several brainstorming sessions, to come up with relevant ideas.  We have multiple products and as there were so many features planned in upcoming releases inline with these products, the challenge was to identify right problems to solve, the features which resonate with user needs. We also needed to find features with monetisation value which eventually will help us with business. The competitive study helped me to understand the market and these sessions directed us to focus on right problems to solve.  These iterations also helped me fix below things:

  • Primary and secondary Tasks mapping through Task analysis

  • Improved Information Architecture and adherence to Mental Models

  • Holistic and improved experience mapping for user goals

  • Better handling of Error scenarios

  • How might we assist Manish to manage home atmosphere better?

  • How might we recommend relevant automations to Manish?

  • How might we optimise power consumption of the Home?

  • How might we help the family members to maintain optimal air quality at home?

  • How might we assist Manish and Neha to control the temperature of their home?

Low-Fi prototypes

Wireframes, User Flows and Prototypes

We had a set of correct problems and good ideas of how to solve them, I prioritised the main users flows of the upcoming features and started creating low-fi prototypes on whiteboards. I had to do multiple iterations along with the team to reach to a point where I was sure that the next step is to create Hi-Fi wireframes, Visual Designs & User Flows

Final Design has several deliverables, like Visual Designs, Specs, Interaction Flows, Assets and interactive prototypes. 

Hi-Fi wireframes

User Flows with the Visual Designs

Visual Designs

I unified the visual language of the app as much as I can, given the constraints of deadlines. 

We are working on developing a Style Guide to make the designs look relatively more coherent. There is still work to be done, however we have successfully achieved:

  • Improved visual language

  • Cleaner Designs which solved the problem of overcrowded information and layouts

  • Less Visual load in designs and improved attention guidance

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Usability Tests and Customer feedback

We have a set of users which are contacted for beta releases every time. I conducted few usability testing sessions using google analytics. I have set up a process to collect direct feedback from customer support team which is valuable for informing further design process.

All this together helped me to identify the real world usability issues and related improvements in the proper context, examples are:

  • Relevant features.

  • Introduction of much needed automations in AC temperature profiling.

  • Identifying missed usability issues like vague error messages and frequent logging out.

  • More innovative ideas as a consequence of brainstorming sessions based on customer feedback.

What improved

  • Proper channel for quick customer feedback and support from the app.

  • Improved usability and consistent interactions

  • Better information layout and conformance to interaction fundamentals

  • Minimised visual inconsistencies and relatively better visual language

  • Improved conformance to mental models

Results

  • Increased user base from 30,000 to 60,000

  • Revenue generation through e-warranty.

  • Sales improvement through directing users to affiliated stores.

  • Improved Usability & Visual Language

  • Increased app rating from 3.6 to 4.2

  • Positive reviews & satisfied users 

  • Benchmark Smart home UX and Automations 

The Road further

I have  established and well integrated the Design process in the company which almost works like a start up, it has been a challenge. I plan to gradually bring in below changes version 2.0:

  1. Create comprehensive Design Guidelines and Style Guides and unify the visual language.

  2. Introduce the standard UI elements to bring in consistency in interactions and help development team to create a library for those elements

Sneak peek into  MirAIe 2.0

Popular videos of MirAIe