How Mobile ethnography helped a home-heating company to design a smart-home heating control system.

As technology becomes evermore powerful and intuitive, it is playing an increasingly large part in how we manage our homes. One area of the home which has seen particular advancements is in heating. Previously, consumers had little control over the time, frequency and temperature of heating when they were not present in their homes. However, with the advancement of smart-homes systems, they can now remotely control the heating in their homes from the smartphones.


The Challenge

As technology has continued to develop at a rapid pace, smart-home technology has been one area that has advanced quicker than many had ever predicted. Whilst this has been a positive for consumers, such rapid development has meant that little is known about consumers adoption, expectations, requirements or usage of such technology.

This was exactly the challenge facing our client when they approached us here at Indeemo. Their own client had recently developed a smart-heating control app as part of their home-heating services. Whilst the company was confident that they had developed a convenient app, they were unsure about how the user experience of this new technology would be for their customers. Furthermore, they weren’t entirely sure of which of their customers would be willing to adopt such technology. In order to understand just how they should be designing the app, they needed to get some real-life feedback on it’s everyday application from a representative sample of their customers.

The Goals


Our clients objectives were to:

  • Gain a deeper insight into their consumers attitudes, behaviours and usage with regards to their home-heating service

  • Understand the motivations and expectations of consumers when it came to smart-heating controls

  • Gather in-the-moment feedback on the user experience of the new smart-heating app amongst their customers


The Solution


When our client approached us, we identified a familiar problem. Understanding user's experience of on-the-go apps can be difficult. Whilst bringing consumers to focus groups, IDI’s and product testings can garner instant feedback, it does not always truly reflect the natural, on-the-go and in the moment usage of the app.

Working with Indeemo, our client was able to conduct a mobile ethnography project that would get the in-the-moment, in-context insights into the user experience of their app that they needed. Using a scheduled task list, they gathered almost 2000 uploads from 50 respondents giving media-rich feedback on their experience and satisfaction with the app.

Indeemo’s Mobile Screen-Recording feature allowed our client to see exactly how customers were using the app, whilst also explaining exactly what they were doing and experiencing as they controlled their home heating with it. This feedback allowed our client to fully understand this user experience from a large sample of their consumers as they continued to use the app.


If you would like to learn more about how design ethnography can help you understand the user experience of an app or mobile-service, please get in touch using the form below.

Contact Us

Indeemo is used by Experience Designers and User Researchers for diary studies and observational research ranging from understanding how people shop online to recording how business people book taxis at an airport to understanding out of the box experiences to observing how consumers shop for snacks at convenience stores.

Our Research and Design clients consistently remark on the richness and depth of insights that they can capture using Mobile Ethnography.

The ability to seamlessly analyse contextual video from multiple respondents on a single dashboard can significantly improve the efficiency at which researchers can analyse and synthesise this behavioural data.

If you’re interested in discussing an upcoming research or design project, please submit your details here and we will get back to you ASAP.

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