Human-Centric Design in IoT: Dos and Don’ts
What is Human-Centric Design?
The concept of human-centered design was first voiced back in the 20th century, and it evolved along with the popular term design thinking. This is concept of product development, where users' devices and desires come first, the resulting products achieve enormous popularity and also solve real user problems.
While IoT encompasses the connectivity of an array of smart devices and sensors, it is the human interaction with these devices that truly defines their success. The success of IoT products is now defined by how well they align with human needs, expectations, and behaviors.
Let's look at the best practices in IoT development that we should keep in mind.
Problem-first approach and Seamless Integration into daily life
When developing a new IoT product, use problem-first approach instead of a technology-first approach. This way you will create a product that users will actually need. Not only you will solve their pressing problem and get guaranteed sales, but you will also get an audience for testing and real feedback from users to improve the product for future versions.
In addition, IoT devices should not feel like separate gadgets but rather like natural extensions of our routines. To achieve this, designers must consider the context in which the devices will be used. For example, any devices for drivers should be equipped with voice control, and interaction with the user should be kept to a minimum.
Feedback and Personalization
Make sure your IoT device uses a notification system to provide feedback to the user about changes occurring. Don't expect the user to remember to check the device regularly, especially for breaking changes. For example, a simple temperature sensor becomes many times more useful if it is equipped with an alert system for sudden changes in temperature, which may indicate a fire, an open window, an open door to the refrigerator, etc.
Consider implementing machine learning so your device can learn from user behaviors and tailor their functions to suit individual preferences, making the IoT experience truly unique.
Scalability and Ecosystems
When users have multiple interconnected devices, a seamless experience across these devices is critical. For example, an IoT home security system should integrate with smart locks, cameras, and lighting to provide a holistic and user-friendly security solution. Scalability ensures that users can expand their IoT network as needed without complexity.
Data Privacy and Transparency
Providing users with clear information on what data is being collected, how it is used, and giving them control over their data is not only a best practice but also a legal requirement in many countries.
So, let’s also look at some more Dos and Don’ts on how to implement the Human-Centric Design approach in IoT
Conduct user research and involve real users early in the design process, understand their needs, preferences, and pain points.
Create intuitive interfaces that require minimal learning for users to operate IoT devices. Keep menus and navigation simple and straightforward.
Design different option of communicating with your device like voice or gesture commands, changing the text size etc. Ensure that users with disabilities can use the device effectively.
IoT products that lack personalization may not meet individual needs.
Avoid collecting data without a clear purpose. Data that is not used for meaningful insights or to enhance the user experience can be seen as intrusive.
In summary, Human-Centric Design ensures that IoT products are not only technologically advanced but also user-friendly, addressing real-world problems and enhancing the overall user experience. This is not the one and only correct development method, but we recommend that you take it into account when developing and implement it at least partially. This approach contributes to the success and acceptance of IoT solutions in the market.