About two months ago my phone kept buzzing with notifications. I got the kindest tweets after it was announced that I was joining Home Assistant as the first full-time UX designer. That enthusiasm is also reflected in the more than 500 registrations for our user research group and the many comments we received on design ideas I’ve shared on Twitter.
Home Assistant has a large group of users with a common goal: home automation that puts local control and privacy first. From our analytics we have over 85,000 users who opted in to share their data anonymously, but we know that there are a lot more. None of these houses and users are alike and may have different, perhaps conflicting interests. Here lies the power of UX. As Scott Jenson shared in his fantastic keynote, UX offers perspective. Who are the users? What are their tasks? And what is their pain? What do they want to achieve?
In the coming period, I will investigate what type of smart home users there are, what their needs are and what stands in the way of achieving this.
Last year alone, there were over 8,000 GitHub contributors to Home Assistant. That’s really fantastic! With a Designer-to-Developer ratio of 1 per 8,000, it’s easy to get lost in the backend of design and forget the users. This can result in inconsistent user interfaces or designs that could be more user-friendly. For now we’re working on three areas.
We want to make it as easy for designers to contribute as it is for developers. There’s a lot a designer can contribute to. For example, making it easier to work with light groups or getting started with automating your house. If you have a design you really think we should look at? Would you like to help build our own Design System? Do you have experience with user testing? Do you have strategic design ideas? Want to organize an online design workshop? Or just want to meet fellow designers? Meet us at devs_ux Discord channel or join us on GitHub discussions.
We want it to be easy to start creating and iterating on design mockups for Home Assistant. We want anyone that is interested to be able to jump in. To achieve this we’ve been hard at work at re-creating the components that make up the Home Assistant interface as a DesignKit for Figma. This allows anyone to experiment with the Home Assistant interface and quickly try out different concepts. Try it yourself and feel free to share your designs.
With clear guidelines, you can ensure speed and quality. That’s why we’re working on design documentation that will be available soon. Its goal is to help designers and developers make better choices. Got suggestions or want to help with our guidelines? Meet us at devs_ux Discord channel.