UI improvement suggestions

First off, I want to say I am really impressed with the Sense app in general. I feel like it’s very user friendly and works really well. But, I think some improvements could still be made.

I have some suggestions for the UI on the mobile app. I specifically have Android, but I assume the UI looks the same on iOS.

  1. Remove the timeline from the “now” tab. Stuff that happened yesterday is not now. It also makes the area for the bubbles really small. I would add a timeline section to trends or create a new timeline tab along the bottom.

  2. In this new timeline section, add a button that brings up all your devices with a checkbox next to them so you can quickly toggle what devices show in the timeline. This will be much better than having to go to devices > device name > settings > manage > toggle show on timeline. The timeline can be a really useful tool for troubleshooting what an unknown device is, so the ability to quickly change what shows on it would be very useful.

EDIT: 2a. Similar to having one place where you can toggle all devices for the timeline, a single place where you can toggle power on/off notifications for devices would be great too.

  1. In the devices tab, add filters and sorting.
    3a. Sorting - Right now the default is by name. So if you have several smart plugs, everything under “always on” shows up top and that is rarely what I want to see. I would perhaps make always on show under all the other active devices regardless of how the devices are sorted. Sort options could be by current power draw, name, room (more on this in a minute). I’m sure there are a few other ways to sort as well.
    3b - Filtering - I would love a way to filter the devices list to only show certain ones. Some possible filters could be show only active devices. Show only devices in a certain room. Show only devices over X wattage. Show only devices that have been on for over X minutes/seconds/whatever.
    3c - Explanation for sorting and filtering a room. We already have the ability to add a location to a device. Make these locations sometime we can use to filter and sort by. It would also be really cool to see a power meter graph for a room.

  2. When looking at the devices, even if not filtered, add an option to group devices in a room together and show the total wattage of the room with all the devices listed below. Just like how always on works when you have smart plugs. Give us the ability to collapse this list. This could be a toggle switch. I would move the “Devices” label at the top over to the left some and add the toggle switch to the right of it. “Group rooms together: toggle”.

  3. When you go to Settings > My Home > Sense Monitor, have it show the WiFi strength in dBm. Possibly an average over the last 24 hours or something similar. This could help troubleshooting data gaps and outages.

  4. In the Now tab, make sure the bubbles always fit on the screen. With the timeline removed, this might be easier to do. If I look at the Now tab when my water heater is running I basically only see the single bubble and it’s so big I can’t get the app to zoom out because you can’t zoom in or out by pinching a bubble, only by pinching the black space outside the bubbles. Can’t change the zoom if no black space is showing.

6 Likes

Some good points. There’s a lot to unpack and debate here.

Now > Bubbles + Timeline I agree is cluttered on a smartphone screen; tablets can benefit though from the dual display. I would credit Sense with having considered this fairly carefully for all the display possibilities including a browser. Solving the small screen clutter issue could be “swipe down for fullscreen Bubbles” in the same way that currently you can swipe up for fullscreen timeline.

Something I will add is that in the long term I can see good reason to incorporate logging/history/realtime signals into the UI along with controls (=smart switches/dimmers and so on).

“Now” could become more like “Home”. The Sense icon is a “Home” talk bubble after all! Meaning: In the Home screen you currently have Bubbles or Power Meter selection up top … this could be split and become Bubbles/Controls/“Info” etc where “Info” could be Timeline/History/Logs/Alerts or whatever. I could see that maturing into a Trace/Signals option where you are presented with relevant realtime info like Signals and wifi strength and so on.

The Home screen could allow swipe left-right to switch to these different modes.

Personally I could let my Home screen live as Controls most of the time because I usually find myself going to Devices to scroll around and switch things on and off.

There are unexploited UI options with swipe left/right in the Devices list.

A Sense widget is also something that could take some of the more interactive (switch control) stuff out of the app although where you draw the line between Sense-as-energy-monitor and Sense-as-controller is a tough call.

Well, it looks like #5 was mostly implemented in version 29 of the app.

2 Likes

Yeah, it took a lot of personal effort not to let that one slip when I saw your post :slight_smile:

I’ve passed the other suggestions on to the team. UI/UX is something we care deeply about here and are always interested in ways to improve the app experience.

When I “cursor” over the watts consumption the Meter time line - I’d like to see the composition of the usage - in other words show what devices consumed the power shown on the Meter timeline?

It would be a stretch to get all that info in the UI in a way that would be uncluttered and deal with the potentially very dynamic data.

What you are asking can be found, with adequate resolution, in Trends > Usage … I believe in a way that balances info delivery and clutter.

Added a 2a section above. After a couple of new detections and last night, my oven and water heater were combined, I had to go into several devices and turn notifications on. It would be really nice to have a notifications area with each device listed and 2 check boxes to the right; one for power on and one for power off. Obviously, you should still be able to set this at the device page too, as well as set custom notifications for that device.