Studies have shown, color temperature and intensity of artificial lighting is critical to human functioning both physically and psychologically. FineLite, a provider of custom lighting solutions, partnered with Airro Studio to design a system that allows for the optimal control of color temperature, intensity and duration of lighting in commercial spaces.
The hardware and software solution is called FineTune TCS and is available through FineLite's website.
Designing a digital product that allows a user to control lighting parameters, from scratch, is no easy feat. The digital product needed to compliment pre-defined hardware abilities, be able to be operated from a single hand and be easy and intuitive to use.
To build an app, I first understood the context and the behaviors of the audience at hand, built journey maps and explored UI options. As a partner of Airro Studios, we designed an app for the commercial space that is as intuitive as other IOT applications. The result – an application that is intuitive to use with an interface tailored towards healthcare workers, teachers and other space managers.
As the lead product designer, I conducted interviews, drafted the UX strategy, created wireframes and high-fidelity designs. I interfaced with engineers (firmware and native C) as well as internal stakeholders.
Lead Product Designer
Contract / AirroStudio
With no formal discovery phase, I relied on insights gathered by discussing options, feasibility, target audience and other dimensions with the projects main and only stakeholder – a firmware engineer at FineTune. The main takeaway - while consumer products allow a wider range of values FineTune is focused on setting colors commonly found in daylight spectrum as well as intensity.
Early on in the UX phase, I mapped a high-level architecture flow to help gain alignment on the full process a user would take while interacting with the app.
The benefit of a small-knit design and development team was the ability of prototyping in early phases to test out interactivity and IxD and overall app flow. I relied on a off-the-shelf iOS patterns and kits to handle low complexity UI patterns such as settings screens. For new use-cases such as time schedules and color patterns, I designed bespoke UI patterns. I used this phase to indicate custom components vs default iOS controls as means to reduce dev complexity and effort.
The process to get to final designs was a process of exploration, validating ideas with key stakeholders and relying on findings from prototypes. I focused design time on the key views of the experience - the main timeline view, weekly/daily schedules and setting corresponding color schedules.
The main view of the controller post set up is a timeline view showing the current color temperature and intensity. A scrollable pane allows an operator to see what's in store to ensure the schedule is running correctly. I explore multiple options of the main view with a focus on information clarity, UI details while being delightful to see and use.
An interface that revolves around days of the week as most inhabitants of the space function on a weekly schedule. Allowing specific color schedules to be executed by day of the week down to the hour.
A circular dial to set light color seemed like the most intuitive solution. While other solutions were attempted I kept coming back to the wheel as simplest, single-handed, method of input to set color and intensity.