Project - Product and digital UX design for a low-cost smart energy meter
Product /service - Smart electricity and gas meter, designed to target manufacturing cost for emerging markets such as India

Duration - 3 months
Team - Product owner, 2  x Product /UX designers, prototyper
Activities - Product design (visual, ergonomic, mechanical), UX design, sketches, Photoshop elevations, 3D CAD, prototypes
Deliverables - Housing prototypes, manufacture-ready 3D CAD, UI spec document /screen mockups
Outcome - Product has yet to be launched

With electronic design underway and target costs defined, we began exploring product form in a range of sketch concepts. We worked to find an appealing style that also allowed the product to stand, to be wall-mounted, and to include indicator LEDs to draw user attention.

Drawing over draft PCB layouts for sizing, we detailed six concepts as 2D Photoshop elevations, considering different combinations of touchscreen controls, soft buttons and indicator warning lights. Mechanical, electronic and UX design all advanced in parallel so we kept in communication and iterated designs in response to changes,

We knew the display would be a low-cost, monochrome touchscreen. Within those limitations, we explored different concepts for intuitive on-screen visuals to indicate electricity and gas usage. Our goals were to make the display easy to understand from across the room, and define a distinctive visual style for the product.

Once the display model was selected, we could work to a set screen resolution. We determined suer journeys, screens required and visualisations best suited to the low resolution display. We detailed all screens in Photoshop, creating an icon set and helping the client to define intuitive language and abbreviations.

The user interface was not just on-screen, but also included two colour-changing indicator LEDs, one for each fuel. We integrated their use into the overall experience and ensured they worked together with display graphics harmoniously.

We delivered screen mockups, a digital 'site' map and a handover document to the software development team.

We designed the plastic casework and stand to manufacturing level, defining all parts and modelling them in Solidworks 3D CAD. We included an optional wall-mount part, considered assembly /disassembly, and cable management, adjusting designs in response to manufacturer's cost estimates.

'First-off tooling' parts. This is one of the first products to be produced via low-volume tooling as a fully working prototype.

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