npower Home was the award-winning answer to the brief set by npower as part of the npower Developer Challenge 2014. The brief was to create a prototype that helped household members better use their energy using public data and device data.
As a group of 3 designers in the University course I attended, I was responsible for user interface design and prototype development.
Harnessing device data
One of the things we saw opportunity was using device data that is already in their pockets, the smartphone. A smartphone can provide data such as:-
- Weather and forecast — determining how cold or hot the day will be
- Calendar appointments — when people are out of the house
- Location — when people are out of the house and/or coming back using Geofence
Using the information, we can use to save where energy could be potentially wasted. But we also used and apply this to a rule system.
The smart rule system gives the household owner precise control on how energy is being used. e.g. If two or more people are in the home or coming back home, central heating can turn on regardless of schedule. Tylen St. Hilaire who worked on the user experience design was inspired by the iTunes smart playlists to create the smart rule system.
One of the main focus parts of the design is using the information and presenting it in a visual form that household users can understand and engage. The dashboard utilises this heavily for billing and the timeline when people have arrived or left the home.
The prototype went through several iterations, each iteration after is a refinement of the goal's brief and our vision.
Later, we packaged the prototype, a promotional video and collaterals created by Krista Mavrohannas before submitting to D&AD New Blood 2014 and npower Developer Challenge 2014.
We submitted our work to both the npower Developer Challenge and D&AD New Blood briefs. While we didn't win the brief for D&AD, it had won first prize for the npower Developer Challenge. The prize was £10,000 and was shared among the group.
But wait, there's more!
We as a group kept the process blog during our time at University, feel free to have a look. It's packed with a lot of user research like personas and you can see how the interface developed over time.