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Smart Siemens Assistant
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Summary

The Siemens oven IQ700 is a high-end device. Yet after over ten solid years in the market, the company was seeking a fresh look. I worked with other three designers to study the usability and user experience of the oven and proposed a future-oriented redesign.
 

Our concept, the Siemens Assistant Oven, aimed to deliver the experience of having a personal chef. It adapts to everyone's situation and preferences. It offers suggestions while respecting the agency of the user. Among the new features, are voice assistance, product scanning, and improved search mechanisms.

Role

User research and design,  Visual design

Date

Feb - Jul 2020

Methodology

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Functionality Analysis

Cognitive Walkthrough

Group
Brainstorming

User
Personas

Market
Research

Usability
Testing

Creative
Prototyping

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System Usability Scale

Perspective Inspection

 Oven Inspection  
Each activity provided us with insights and then we synthesize all the knowledge framing the problem and defining a design goal.

 Ideation  
We generated new feature ideas and explored different design concepts. These ideas were tested and evaluated, leading us to converge on a final concept.

 Concept Definition  
We developed the final proposal using Adobe XD and assessed its usability thoroughly.

Eternal materials, outdated experiences

Siemens is a renowned brand known for its high-quality home appliances. To understand the oven better, we operated it as first-time users. We then selected specific methodologies and, in pairs, explored the oven's functionalities and design. Our findings were consolidated to inform our design approach

Functionality

  • The oven contains 25 functions. It also offers meal guidance and several types of device maintenance.

  • It contains a central round button to navigate the menus and select options.

Screen, button, app; Where to press?

  • The user must switch continuously from the physical button to the touchscreen.

  • While the Home Connect app allows for control, it may not always be the most efficient path.

Oven UI analysis

Chic kitchens are not exempt from chaos

  • This product fits high-end kitchens and their users, “leading edge” early adopters.

  • A kitchen is often a noisy environment.

  • There, users frequently multitask and have limited finger dexterity. They often get their hands wet, dirty, or covered.

A tech-demanding market

  • China and Europe are the largest markets. We found positive reviews praising the brand and the number of available functions.

  • Trends in oven design are tech-driven featuring built-in cameras, sensors, projections, and robots.

Siemens kitchen

We concluded our research by identifying the main pain points. We labeled these problems in order of relevance for our target group, prioritizing what we argue has the largest effect on the experience.

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Lack of feedback

Navigation

Water tank UX

Lack of structure

Ambiguous labelling

Home connect app

HIGH

MILD

LOW

Users do not get enough information like how long has the meal been cooking which is inefficient and can lead to safety issues

The inconsistent navigation and button usage leads to a higher learning curve

Inadequate guidance on operating the water tank and a fragile interface contribute to confusion and a lack of trust in the system.

Inconsistency in the menu structure and button usage hampers efficiency, which is crucial for the target audience.

Options and descriptions often lack clarity and fail to be self-explanatory, causing confusion for users.

The  app offers remote control and monitory but operates completely different than the device

Our goal is to instill confidence in users and provide assistance throughout the cooking process to alleviate any uncertainties.

Ideation

Our design approach emphasized clarity, efficiency, and effective communication. Through collaborative ideation, our team developed three concepts. Each design aimed to address existing issues and incorporate at least one new feature for evaluation.

Concept 1

This concept focused on tracking user preferences and implementing a profile-based structure. It offers greater control through the app and improved search engine.

Concept 2

This concept integrates a built-in voice assistant with natural conversation interactions.

It offers a more coherent design of the menus and submenus with self-explanatory descriptions.

Concept 3

I experimented with new functions: such as a food scanner and step-to-step guidance. This concept also emphasizes better feedback on user actions and improved button distribution.

Personalization

Concept 1
Concept 2
Concept 3

Voice Control

1

2

3

Assistant Oven

Testing

Low-fi, home edition

Due to the global pandemic, we adapted our testing approach by conducting evaluations in our home environments. Participants engaged with paper prototypes supported by the Wizard of Oz technique, enabling us to gather valuable insights and feedback. 

Lo-fi user testing

During the analysis, we identified the most successful features from all concepts to integrate them into the final design.

Table comparing the results of the test

At this point, I was still exploring VUI literature and the best disposition/design for the buttons. I learned how to integrate recovery mechanisms and improve the flow of the voice assistant. I also created a detachable device, inspired by the Microsoft Surface Dial, to use when the touchscreen was less desirable. This would function as an external display and alarm. To test it, I prototyped it using clay and my Xiaomi Mi Band.

Inspiration microsoft surface button

Final Prototype

Less time, less effort. Same result but tastes better.

I played a key role in designing the interfaces. This time, we started by defining the information architecture to ensure a clear flow.

Chart about the information architecture

Next, we improve the aesthetic design to be modern and fit Siemens’ corporate identity. We created our style guide and glyphs and made wireframes to ensure consistency in our final design.

wireframe
Oven interface redesign high fidellity

Final test

​We conducted thorough validation tests, starting with a pilot test of our method and digital prototype. Each team member then facilitated a test in an advanced version of our home setup.

Set up of final tests

We applied triangulation per participant, researcher, and method. I explored different data visualization methods aiming to map the raw data efficiently to draw valuable insights from it.

Diagram analyzing the test

We identified the successful features and created six clusters with recommendations and interesting proposals for Siemens. We predict our redesign to create a seamless experience where efficiency is at the core and users feel assisted. In the final prototype below, I integrated the knowledge from the final assessments in the prototype below, the Siemens Assistant Oven, also available here

Turn it on!

interactive prototype of final desing

Inspiring experiences beyond the screen

Users found the Assistant experience highly appealing, and stakeholders provided positive feedback regarding the concept and design directions. Our final design aligns with our testable objectives. However, further assessment is required to validate its effectiveness. Most importantly, I acquired valuable knowledge about usability testing, its impact, and the ability to adapt to different circumstances.

Points of improvement & next steps

Given more time, we would have incorporated our knowledge into the Home Connect app, delivering a comprehensive proposal for a cohesive redesign. Additionally, I would have liked to explore the usability potential of the detachable button further.  Looking back, I recognize a missed opportunity in engaging more participants online through remote tests involving a larger sample from our target group.​

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