HVAC system filters need to be replaced on average, every three months. Each environment is different and the exact filter lifespan may vary depending on types of particles, how often it’s used, how many people are in the home and if there are any pets. With all of these variables, people don’t know when to change or forget to change, leaving them with poor air quality. How might we inform and create an easy experience to change HVAC filters?
MVP of Filtrete Smart Air App
Working in lock-step with ArcTouch, AirViz, and Infosys, the teams designed and developed an iOS & Android app. ArcTouch helped establish the channel for how the filter sensor communicates with the phone over BLE. ArcTouch’s developers also created a Filtrete skill for Amazon Echo. Together, we established the UX of pairing filter to app, how information is presented at the right time, making it easier for people to order filters, and educating them on air quality.
With 1 collaborative cross-functional team, 13 consumer insight reports and 7 online shopping exercises, our team identified key insights into customer needs. Users preferred curated reminders based on their usage and functionality, reminders on when to change filter, and needing a way to remember their size.
Over three months, our close cross-functional team designed the packaging of the filter and sensor, created instructions, developed the sensor prototype, and worked with ArcTouch to develop our MVP app to test with 75 users in their home. With the help of our Research team at Bovitz, we had amazing results and feedback that helped us further develop our Smart Air experience. Below is some of the feedback we received on the user journey.
Consumers needed to have a phone on the packaging with the interface to quickly identity the product as “smart”.
Users would forget to pull the tab out of sensor before trying to pair. An animation was created to remind users through the pairing journey.
Many people are air un-awair but once they have basic data in their hands, they want to know more. An information link was created for users to understand where and how we are gathering our data.
- 25,000 users from February 2018 - July 2018
- Filters switched on an average of 58 days instead of standard 120 days.
- Apple store ratings 3.7
- Google Play store ratings 1.8 (issues with pairing)
(Not tracking app usage because it's not meant to be used everyday)
One of the most challenging tasks was to develop a design system for the Filtrete app. Since our web appearance is based on a set template with 3M, we wondered what the ideal digital experience of Filtrete could look like. In parallel with the development of the application UI, I lead the work for Filtrete's packaging re-design for all retailers that would launch with the Smart product line.
During our first launch, we wanted to use the blue gradient shown on our packaging to reflect clean air and as an own-able color against competitors. Using the gold from our logo to identify important differences for the user to notice.
This category is only gaining more importance with the increase of environmental issues. After our first launch, the team quickly got to work on what the future of air could look like. As most of that information is confidential, updated UI was launched to help accommodate the future products. For example, we added the + button to the center of the bottom navigation. Users were able to quickly add/replace a filter in addition to pairing future products.
Quickly get an overview of your air quality health. When filter life is low, notifications will remind the user to purchase or replace the old filter.
Most users had a hard time remembering when to change their filter or couldn't remember size when visiting a retailer. We made it easy to find their size and filter type through retailers close to their location. Amazon dash replenish also helps our consumers automatically re-order as soon as replacement is needed.
Most people don't know that air quality indoors is usually worse than outdoor air. Currently, the app can connect with the SPECK Indoor AIr Quality Monitor and Filtrete's own indoor AQ Smart Monitor. Track the patterns of your air quality and be prepared for the next time there is another wildfire.
Observing people in their homes is much more valuable than in a controlled environment. People seemed more comfortable giving us their honest opinion and clear questions. We didn’t just have feedback on the app, but everything from packaging communication to future products that could solve more pain points for our consumers.
I think personally, I found it exciting that our whole team really embraced ambiguity with our first launch. There were defiantly areas I wish I could fix. Like directing more of my time towards our design system to create a functioning sketch library for future designers.