Claire Rowland

Lead Author


Designing for Systems of Connected Products

Conventional usability/UX is concerned with interactions between a user and a single UI. But interactions for connected products (the internet of things) often span multiple devices with very different capabilities. Designers can’t just think about designing separate user interfaces, but need to design a coherent UX for the whole system.

This talk will cover:

• Helping users form an effective mental model of the system: what different devices do, and how they are interconnected. When is it necessary to explain the system model–how things actually work–and when to simplify so they don’t need to concern themselves with technical details?
• Effective composition: distributing functionality between devices to suit the capabilities of the devices and needs of the user
• Appropriate consistency: how to determine which elements of the design should (and should not) be consistent across different interfaces.
• Continuity: how patterns of connectivity and network quirks can cause discontinuities in the UX, and how to stop the UX feeling broken as a result.

About Claire Rowland

Claire is an independent product and UX strategy consultant specializing in the internet of things. She is the lead author of ‘Designing Connected Products: UX for the consumer internet of things’ for O’Reilly, and has a particular interest in taking connected products from an early adopter user base to the mass market. Before becoming independent, she worked on energy management and home automation products as the service design manager for, a connected home platform provider.

Previously, Claire was head of research for design consultancy Fjord, where she led EU funded R&D work investigating the interusability of interconnected embedded devices. She has worked in UX design and research for mobile, multiplatform and web services since 1997.