“The user interface is largely responsible for the experience you have with your home’s electronic systems. Here’s what installers and control manufacturers…are doing to make sure that experience is a great one.”
“It’s never been more apparent that the User Interface (UI) is one of the most important factors in system design. The UI — also called the GUI or graphical user interface — is simply the set of visuals that allows man to interact with machine. In the home entertainment and automation world, you’ll encounter UIs to control your systems, whether it is on a touchscreen, a handheld remote, or a source such as a PlayStation 3 or Apple TV.”
“The reason the UI is so important is because it directly affects how you control and therefore enjoy your system.”
“And while it’s universally agreed upon from control manufacturers that the UI needs to be simple and intuitive, many manufacturers are going the extra mile to allow custom installers—the guys responsible for programming the UI in your home systems—to be creative with customization. Others are opting for straightforward control with no bells and whistles in order to simplify the programming aspect of the installation and create a straightforward UI across all controllers. In between these opposite ends of the spectrum are manufacturers that provide some degree of customization as well as canned interfaces. Designing a UI for a home control system involves the hardware, such as a touchscreen or handheld remote control, some sort of UI software (most manufacturers have their own), and the programming talents of a systems integrator.”
“While some manufacturers focus on customization, others on predesigned templates, and still others on both, a handful are putting a very familiar user interface at the top of their lists of priorities. iPad and iPhone integration are de rigeur for all the major control manufacturers’ product lines because they are familiar.”
“Newcomer ClareControls’ ClareHome has also received a lot of buzz recently as the first home automation system managed from the cloud and run on a Mac. From the ClareCloud, integrators configure and monitor ClareHome, but you,the homeowner, are the one who actually downloads and creates your own user interface.”
“Whether your system is super complex with multiple rooms and subystems or a simple home theater, the user interface should be taken seriously when it comes to design. It is where man and machine mingle and will dramatically boost the enjoyment of your home and all that its systems have to offer. After all, isn’t that the point?”
ClareControls’ ClareHome—the first cloud-based control system—puts the control of designing a user interface entirely in your hands.