Keeping Lighting Simple
Great lighting can significantly add to the enjoyment of a home, and is much easier to control with the right user interface design. In order to help the user to achieve the perfect ambience in their home, they need to be able to easily control and operate the lighting, otherwise the positive benefits of an otherwise good lighting scheme may be lost. Users want to come home and set the right room mood and ambience without the frustration of pressing lots of different buttons.
So, how to make it easy? Here are some top tips to keep lighting simple for the user.
A sensibly-labelled controller is one way of keeping it simple, with each button dedicated to a different scene setting. Customers can have a selection of different scenes to suit their needs and it is important that they are labelled appropriately. Typically, these fall into two camps, based on either intensity or activity. Intensity-based labelling may in fact have particular activities in mind, but in order to minimise the complexity and number of buttons required, use labels such as High, Medium and Low. These might apply to activities such as eating, entertaining, reading or watching TV for example.
Alternatives to Labels
There is a school of thought however, that no matter how well done, labelling can detract from the aesthetic appearance of a switch. To accommodate this view, there are other ways of remembering what each button does. Colour for example, is particularly effective, as it is easy to commit to memory, but only if the colours are consistent across a home, including the colours chosen for other switches and also apps.
Many lighting scenes feel best when they dim up and down slowly. This delay often leads to problems as the user can be uncertain that they have operated the switch correctly. A switch that provides feedback, either through a status LED that responds quickly, a mechanical click or haptic feedback through the finger, will place the user at ease and reassure them that the switch has registered their command. This could be potentially vital for elderly or disabled users who may need different kinds of reassurance that their system is functioning properly.