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carroll904@gmail.com       Tel: (703) 618-6121       resume

Smart homes, made stupidly simple 

Smart' technology will transform every nook and cranny of the home over the next decade. Yet it's unclear whether homeowners are up to the challenge of installing and maintaining a network of appliances themselves.

 

To help, Lowe's offers Home Crew, a professional services subscription for those wary of the headaches, and software updates, that come with a connected life.

MY ROLE:

Service design lead            Qualitative research          Workshop facilitation            UX/UI    

THE CHALLENGE:

Position Lowe’s as the go-to destination for a connected home.

 

The proliferation of ‘smart’ tech has left many Americans scratching their heads on the sidelines. How might Lowe's invite their core customers into the space as home appliances grow increasingly complex?

THE OPPORTUNITY:

Americans are willing to pay for services that eliminate the inconvenience of managing hardware and software. The shade tree mechanic of yesterday, if purchasing a Prius today, typically opts to purchase ToyotaCare aswell.   As smart home appliances grow as complex as smart cars, one should expect Americans to do the same for their homes.

THE SOLUTION

Home Crew, an on-demand services subscription by Lowe's, offers an elite force of smart home installers and consultants who ensure your home runs for you.  Installations, maintenance, and consultations are scheduled through a mobile app or browser and are conducted in person or through video call.

Inspiration

Home Crew agents help users set lifestyle goals before introducing smart products that are right for them.

Installation

Connecting appliances to a shared hub can be a pain. Professional installers help users start off on the right foot.

Maintenance

Home Crew offers subscribers the peace of mind in knowing that software or hardware issues will be resolved in no time.

Anytime, anywhere, mobile support

The Home Crew App allows subscribers to hail home services via video call or home visit. 

House-visits on the homeowner's terms 

Subscribers retain ownership over their schedule and over which agent to invite.

No more sacrificing Saturdays. Home Crew home visits occur on the user's time by syncing to available timeslots on their Google our Outlook calendar. 

Calendar Integration

'Add an item' functionality

Subscribers can add items to be delivered during their Home Crew visit. Lowe's saves subscribers a bit of time and creates a new revenue stream.

Agent ratings and skill certifications

Users may hail a 'Favorite' agent or request whoever is highly rated for installing a certain device or managing a certain ecosystem.

DESIGN PROCESS

DISCOVERY

INTERVIEWS

Our team conducted roughly a dozen interviews with homeowners who fit our target demographic- those who have purchased an Alexa or Google Home but no other smart home technology. Our goal was to understand the motivations for, and the barriers to, adopting more smart tech. 

SYNTHESIS

We then categorized our interview notes into themes, pinpointing how smart tech typically enters the home and reasons for why the early majority balks at adding more.  For instance, we learned that it was very common for home assistants to be gifted and that their value wasn't readily apparent. Additionally, the early majority feels ill-equipped to take on new technology generally.

Key Insights:

  • Intrigue in smart tech exists, yet may not translate into a purchase if the value isn’t glaringly apparent. “I need to see it to believe it.”

 

  • When the value is apparent, the consumer hesitates to make a purchase assuming they lack the skills or knowledge to install and integrate it. “I’m not a techie.”

 

  • Consumers assume the product will break. Unlike a traditional home improvement project, smart tech projects are never completely finished. “Something always goes wrong.”

STRATEGY

STORYBOARDS

User journies for traditional and 'smart' home improvement projects helped surface fundamental differences between the two experiences. Coupled with our key insights, the storyboards helped inspire us to revisit the brief in order to expand our work beyond communications. We believed in a service solve.

Traditional Home Improvement:

  1. Social experience

  2. Observable progress

  3. Physiological payoff

  4. High-fiveable moments

  5. Certainty of completion

vs.

Smart Home Improvement:

  1. Solo experience

  2. Ambiguous progress

  3. Mental taxation

  4. Trouble-shooting success

  5. Completion uncertainy

COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS

A host of tech and communications companies would present competition in the service space. It was important that our solution leveraged Lowe's strengths: 2,370 brick and mortar stores and existing relationships with home improvers.

DESIGN OBJECTIVE

Provide a world-class service that eliminates the pain surrounding installation, maintenance, and ecosystem integration while leveraging Lowe's proximity to the American homeowners.

IDEATION

WORKSHOP

Workshop participants were dealt diverse 'What If?' cards helping to tease inspiration from world-class service organizations. We considered the retail, hospitality, and tourism industries, and considered other out-of-the-box science fiction solutions.

DESIGN

I set the following design criteria to make sure our design choices aligned with our overall service design objectives.  l tried to leverage best practices from the service audit we conducted during our discovery phase.

1) FRICTIONLESS

Access anytme, anywhere

Fingertip support

Time sensitive

2) PERSONALIZED

Customized to each ecosystem

Responsive to preferences

Ultimate control for user

3) HOME-CENTRIC

Inspire life-style goals

Leverage purchasing history

Neighbors like interactions

SKETCH MOCKUPS

I aimed to align the application's UI with the overarching brand guidelines and design criteria. I felt it was important to introduce a clean and airy interface to reduce clutter and meet our 'frictionless' objective. Sequence dots on the bottom of each screen are intended to offer the user awareness of where they stand in the task.

FEEDBACK

CLIENT PITCH

Representatives from Lowe's brand and design teams served as judges. They were impressed with our willingness to push back on the brief and our ability to view the problem through a wider lens. They were skeptical of the costs associated with launching the service and were critical our presentation's logic flow. Members of the design team especially liked the services 'add an item' offering believing it offered an untapped revenue stream.

Team

Eddy Allen

Allie Carr

Hieu Nguyen

Blake Smoral

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