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Safety by design. Empowering user privacy and data security while exploring the unlimited potential of the Internet of things (IoT). 

Product Design / User Research/ Branding / Visual Design

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I designed an experience to protect user's privacy and safeguard their data by letting users be in control of their information.


Project Highlight

A solution focussed on user privacy to improve experiences by using the unlimited potential and limitations of IoT



Responsible for user research, interaction design, content strategy and visual design


Design Platform

Android Mobile design



4 month end-to-end Product design process in April 2020

The Problem
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What is the Problem?

Users are scared, anxious and don't feel safe using smart speakers. They do not trust the privacy policies and are worried that their personal information may be misused.

To make users feel safe while using Smart speakers as they enjoy the comfort of Home Automation.

Why is it a problem?

Why is it a Problem?

New inventions and the unlimited potential of technology are improving peoples' daily lifestyles with minimum effort. Excited to experience home automation, people feel hand-tied due to privacy and security concerns.

Smart devices are improving constantly, and with increasing competitors, it is even more important to solve the users' biggest concerns so that they are confident as they enjoy home automation.

The solution
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The Solution

SAFOME is a mobile app designed to make IoT users feel safe while using smart speakers in their homes. The solutions show different ways a user can control and manage their data and protect their family while interacting with smart speakers.


Users were very comfortable using these app features and this improved their confidence while enjoying the perks of home automation.

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The Process

My Process

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Background Research



Storyboard Ideation



Mobile app


User Testing

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Project Background

I empathize with working mothers who work at two places at once as they manage their careers and take care of their families. I wanted to make life easier for mothers when they are at home and was keen on integrating human behavior with Artificial Intelligence (AI)  to improve their daily chores for an optimized user experience.

Current impact on users

Home automation is an emerging trend and people enjoy the comfort of automating their daily activities. Despite the growing interest in smart home devices, these services were not widely accepted as the equipment was costly and it needed the expertise to install. Apart from the technical challenges, I came across multiple mentions about security risks! But..


What security risks?


Emerging Trend


Energy Efficiency


Limited consumer demand


Security risks

Choosing the right target audience

Motivated to interview people who use smart home devices, I sent out a survey to screen my participants.


Through the 30 responses I received, I was learned that most of the users were working professionals who used a variety of home automation systems in their homes.

This validated my idea to integrate technology to enhance a users' experience at home. 

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76.7 %

23.3 %



How many people automated their homes?

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All information is valuable!

As I was analyzing the data, I noticed the answers by people who don't use smart home devices were interesting, and all their answers related to privacy and data security! So, to understand unbiased experiences with smart home devices, I decided to interview people from both categories- users and non-users. 

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Understanding people through conversations

I spoke to 10 people to understand how people use home automation systems and what they liked and disliked about their experiences.


After speaking to users and non-users it was clear that people were enthusiastic to simplified daily activities and use IoT's potential to the fullest.

But there was an underlying problem that the users were anxious and scared that their privacy was compromised and their data was not secure.

“Hey! Who is listening!”

“Disclaimers are not convincing”, “I am anxious and worried”

“I like to see what is happening to my data!

“Don’t want to expose my home to outside people”

“ I Hack devices for safety”

Rethinking project idea

I started this project with the enthusiasm to integrate human behavior in home automation and I soon realized that privacy and security was the foremost problem. 

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Recorded personal information may be misused.

People are worried that the smart speakers are always listening and recording their conversations even when the smart speakers are not called out to. People feel extremely uncomfortable and feel that their privacy is compromised. They don't know how their data may be used and do not trust the privacy policies.

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How might we users feel safe while using Smart speakers as they enjoy the comfort of Home Automation?

Exploring the problem space 

Analyzing the information from user interviews and background research, it was evident that users wanted to enjoy the full potential of home automation using IoT.


They wanted to automate their daily activities and expected the tool to understand their behavior and preferences. They hoped for additional features but were anxious and scared about privacy and security issues.

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Target audience 

Through user research, it is evident that both users and non-users of Smart speakers had similar privacy concerns.  


For the rest of the project, I will concentrate on a specific target user who is a technology enthusiast, uses multiple smart home devices, and is concerned with personal privacy and data security.

To keep me focussed on the goal, I created a persona to helped me maintain my user’s best interest and to make well-informed design decisions.

Ideation Concepts

After synthesizing all the information, I identified some broad clusters of themes and opportunities that solve the user's problems. So, I sketched idea visuals on how the user could interact with smart speakers and feel confident that he is safe and his family is protected. 

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Prioritizing Used Cases 

With a lot of ideas, it is important to prioritize features, so I evaluated each idea depending on four important criteria, which helped me select the key features for my application.

The feature that is easy to implement and quick to build should be prioritized. Ideas should be tested quickly to confirm the value it brings to the application and the user.


How efficiently does it solve the problem?

Value it brings to the application w.r.t its competitors


Most impact on the user. Does the user feel safe?

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Easy to implement, make quick iterations, minimum time to build, and less production cost

Information Architecture

I decided to design for a native mobile device and finalized my app features. For each feature, I arranged the interactions so that it is easily understandable which could help people to find what they’re looking for. 

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Prototyping- Lo-fi sketches and Guerilla Testing

I designed for Android mobile screens for my key features of the prototype and tested the user flows via Marvellapp. I chose to test it with random people who did not know my product as I wanted to test the participant’s learnability and how they perceive the information on the screen. The feedback from guerilla testing was incorporated into my wireframes.

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Low fidelity Sketches

Wireframes Iteration from Guerilla Testing

Wireframes after incorporating testing feedback

Key Product Features

Key Product features in a Hi-fi Prototype

With feedback from guerilla testing, I created a Hi-fi prototype incorporating the brand identity of a "fun but safe" product- SAFOME.


Muting Smart Speakers

Users may not always be in close proximity and alert to notice when the speakers are listening. Being notified and having the opportunity to mute the speakers at the users' convenience makes the users feel protected.


Makes the user aware of the surroundings, conscious about his actions to make an informed decision.

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Manage Recordings

Users can access their recordings till a defined duration and can delete personal information. Users make a conscious decision about what information they share.


Users can be in control of their personal data and be confident that their information may not be misused.

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Monitor log in

User can monitor their daily activities and protect their home from alien log in's and possible hackers.


Users can monitor usage and control device capability settings and prevent their home from possible hackers.

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Measuring Impact

How do we know it's working?

I tested the solution with 10 people to measure how users interacted with the prototype and if they felt while using it. I wanted to see how users understood the app features, comprehended the visuals and how they navigated through the application to complete the tasks. 


Learnability of the app, navigation, features, UI, and Completion of task


Expected additional features to easily look for recordings


Feel safe, confident to use application  and in control of their information

The majority of the users understood and completed the task. They felt safe, protected, and in control of their information which made them confident and calm while using smart speakers.

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Key Takeaways

  • If it's not a problem, don't fix it.

  • It may be exciting to introduce edgy ideas but the Problem that is interesting to a designer may not be the actual user issue. 

  • Understanding the actual problem and proposing a solution that solves the purpose is a good practice.

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