research & interaction design - @unitid (2016)

Pivot - An entertainment and domotica system for luxury yachts

For VBH I designed a universal remote for their luxury yacht systems: lights, blinds, movies and even the dj set can all be controlled form the palm of your hand

About this project

Van Berge Henegouwen builds bespoke domotica and entertainment systems for luxury yachts.They offer a comprehensive range of control equipment, ranging from simple push-button controls to video-enabled wireless touch panels, key pads and gesture-operated controls. VBH can also design and engineer completely customised devices.

My challenge

"Control all existing and future equipement on a luxury yacht... on a single device"

To keep the system future proof, we needed to design for todays equipment, but also for all kinds of future equipment imaginable. All available through the comfortable and familiar iphone or ipad.

Research

To start, I did an expert review of the existing app, to get a feel for it's strengths and weaknesses. What followed was a pressure cooker 2 day kickstart with the product owner, stakeholders, developers and designers all in one room.The goal: get all the information about the target group and current system on the table, and manage everyones expectations about the scope of this project.

I prepared and facilitated a user journey and sketch session, to dig out the best ideas as a starting point for our design process. At the end of the two days, we had a backlog full of design work, and a tight schedule.

Design

The pivot system is filled with a lot of content of all different types. Rather than design for all of those separately, I approached the design as a system that would work, regardless off the content that was in it. This required thinking through a lot of states, to see if the system held up, but also introduced a level of flexibility that allowed the interface to be personal.

In a very early phase, we started to prototype the flow, as a double check for ourselves, to see if we covered all our bases. It also proved a very good tool of communicating with our product owner and developers.

Design highlights

Control every room, everywhere

Simple two-tiered navigation makes it easy to control everything in the current room, but also to quickly select another room to control. Icons are used to show at a glance what is currently active.

Quick access bar

A major challenge was to make the most used controls accesable anywhere and everywhere. That's why I designed a 'quick acces panel' where the user can e.g. quickly dim the lights while browsing through the movie catalogue. The controls in the quick access panel are standardised and customisable, so the interface is personal and relevant for every user.

Universal controls

This kind of system can't fail if a new and unknown device is added to the line up. That's why we designed a set of universal controls, that can control all connected devices, now and in the future: from an old-fashioned CD-player to the newest Apple TV.