Designing for Internet of Things
Our world is connected – and it is becoming even more connected as time goes on.
Humans, computers and other digital devices are advancing and evolving together.
Digital ecosystems are taking up more and more space in our world. The interaction
between connected devices and humans are becoming increasingly complex and designing
for IoT require a finesse that not everyone has or can comprehend.
In order for IoT design to be successful one must consider a multitude of different
elements. A designer must fully understand all technological elements of IoT, how o
build a successful prototype, how to properly design with artificial intelligence, how
to anticipate design flaws and failures, and how to design for the people who will
actually use each system and/or product. In this post, we will touch upon each of the
above points to help provide a better understanding of the complexities of designing for
The Importance of Understanding IoT Technology
The Internet of Things is highly complex. Just like with anything else, there are positives
and negatives, benefits and limitations to certain products and concepts. There are a
massive amount of technological choices one must make when designing an IoT product or
system. There are a variety of sensors and actuators to choose fro. Picking the right kind
of sensors are imperative as sensors collect the data from the environment that help connect
our world and the actual device.
Then, the information and data that is collected must be stored and analyzed further
using specially designed systems and storage clouds. For more detailed information about
technology, data collection, storage, and data analysis, check out this article on IoT
technology and architecture.
Making Product Prototypes
Designing and producing actual prototypes is an essential part of the IoT designing process.
According to Martin Charlier, an independent design consultant and co-founder of Rain Cloud,
focusing on experience prototypes earlier on in the design process is imperative.
Looking into this area in the early stages allows you to understand in your end product
is actually appropriate and will provide the right kind of user experience. Understating
the main purpose of your prototype will allow you to make the best and most successful
final product possible. If you are able to answer all necessary questions about its
function and purpose, you can make a successful product.
Artificial Intelligence and Design
The world of IoT can feel overwhelming and overly complex, even with simple systems and
devices. If IoT is successful, people who actually engage with the products need to feel
confident in their ability to use them well. If people know they can operate a system or
device with ease, they will embrace the product and actually use it. Often in IoT design,
the simplicity of an actual device can actually be more confusing for users.
Therefore, artificial intelligence is essential and can help make the user experience
easier and simpler. For instance, creating and using algorithms easily make sense of
complex and difficult to understand information that humans cannot. They can also
anticipate user needs and respond to simple commands – like voice commands from the
user. The simpler the device, the more intelligent the device. Then end goal is to make
the product feel more human-like and less cold and robotic. Designers must develop
devices and systems that can understand and interact with an actual human.
Designing for Flaws and Failures
With technology comes a lot of room for flaws and failures – in the designing process and
within the actual product when it launches. That’s why it is so important to consider
everything that could possibly go wrong with a device or system. When or if there is every a
problem, the designer must make sure that it can be easily rectified. If users find they are
having constant issues with a product, or issues that are not easily fixed, this could be
catastrophic for the designers and companies.
Designing With the User in Mind
Users of IoT products want to know that their very personal information is safe and secure.
It is important for designers to keep security issues and user privacy in mind. Users want
to trust the product they are using and know that their information will be stored safely
and securely. This presents designers with a unique challenge with the need to balance
function with safety, security, and privacy issues that users may likely have with certain
IoT devices, like smart home security systems.