Creating GUIs for the Connected Home with Storyboard Suite and Freescale

This past Spring Crank Software participated in a project with Freescale (and other fine Freescale partners) to deliver the ultimate connected home experience at Freescale Technology Forum (FTF) 2015.

There can be a wide variety of devices and sensors communicating data in today’s connected home. So how do we visualize all of that data?

IoT Connected Home Freescale Crank Software

How do we best help home owners interact with all of the information coming from their homes, without turning the promise of convenience into an overwhelming and inconvenient reality? The answer is iterative user experience design, teamwork, and flexible tools.

The Crank and Freescale teams collaborated to deliver a solid user experience and stunning, intuitive visuals for the FTF 2015 connected home. Using Crank Storyboard Suite, the teams were able to design a GUI that could provide home owners the ability to manage temperature, monitor and control security, maximize energy savings, control lights and appliances, and even…

…wait for it…

…make coffee. Well, not robotically deliver coffee. Yet.

While I continue to sit here daydreaming about coffee magically showing up on my desk on-demand, you go ahead and watch this awesome video from Freescale, that takes you on a tour through the connected home application from FTF 2015.

Why use Storyboard Suite to design GUIs for the connected home?

The best home automation interfaces are designed with users in mind. Simplicity is key, but intuitive and easy-to-use GUIs require elegant design, exhaustive testing, and multiple iterations – which can be time intensive (and expensive). Designing with Storyboard Suite allows teams to keep UX and UI designers engaged in the entire development process, resulting in systems that are finely tuned and highly functional, without dragging out timelines. Built-in collaboration tools in Storyboard also allow multiple designers and developers to work in parallel and merge designs without impacting quality or creating a fragmented user experience. This can dramatically reduce development cycles and speed time to market.

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Walk-through of the Storyboard Suite Embedded Application GUI Demos at FTF 2015

While we were at Freescale Technology 2015, we shared several photos of the various Storyboard Suite embedded application GUI demos. We also posted a (very) quick look at an IoT demo designed with Storyboard Suite for a connected home.

Thanks to our friends at Freescale, we now have a more in-depth video of Crank Software VP, Jason Clarke, showcasing all of the application demos at FTF featuring Storyboard Suite. Check out this more thorough look at the connected home application.

Smart homes lend convenience to busy households. Well-designed home automation interfaces allow homeowners to interact with and control their homes in ways that maximize convenience and savings.

If those demos leave you itching to test drive the new Storyboard Suite 4.1 for your next well-designed user interface, download the 30-day full featured evaluation version today.

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Three Changes Affecting Graphical User Interface (GUI) Design

GUI Design Crank StoryboardGUI design is changing, both the process and the end product a customer interacts with on a device. This is in response to a changing market. Screens are everywhere. Refrigerators and laundry machines have interactive displays. Home automation systems are becoming more mainstream.  Our cars have technologically advanced infotainment systems and clusters that rival my 80’s dreams of the future KITT car.  The prevalence of screens has created a shift in how user interfaces are created.

There are three major GUI design changes that affect how we now need to work:

Mobile has raised expectations

The rise of mobile has raised the bar for aesthetics and user experience. There’s no room for old school graphics that include bland buttons and monochrome displays. Mobile devices have opened up users to rich UIs that are responsive, crisp, and elegant. Embedded applications have to live up to that experience.

Project teams are evolving

Due to the requirement to build richer user experiences, development teams have grown to include designers. This means tools and development processes have to extend to include them.

Graphics are created. And changed. And then changed again.

Design change is inevitable because applications are tested and re-tested. The UI is continuously evolving and requiring updates. Designers no longer hand over a mockup to a developer to visually represent with code and then walk away. The graphics have to change, which means the designer stays engaged in the process.

To respond to the changes in the market, tools for GUI design have to evolve. Processes have to be able to respond to change.

Check out our recent webinar with Freescale, to see how Storyboard Suite responds to the call for GUI design changes.

Also, view this quick video demo that we used in the webinar that showcases how Storyboard Suite is different.

 

Embedded World 2015 Day 2: Storyboard Suite GUIs are everywhere

Day 2 kept us busy in the booth with a lot of people coming to check out the GUI software demos on our partner’s hardware and Storyboard Suite demos.

I managed to get out of the booth a few times to visit some partners, and while traveling around the 5 exhibition floors I felt like I was playing a game of Where’s Waldo?, Crank Edition. Storyboard Suite demos were everywhere! I don’t know if I found them all, but here are some of the companies showcasing Storyboard Suite UIs using GUI software.

Check out the Crank Storyboard medical demo in the following booths:

  • Freescale booth (4A-220)
  • Keith & Koep (4-241)
  • Microsoft (4-240)
  • Green Hills Software (4-325)

Freescale, Crank Software

Keith &  Koep, Crank Software Microsoft, Crank Software

Green Hills Software, Crank Software

See the Atmel treadmill demo built with Storyboard Suite in the Farnell element 14 booth (5-221) and in the Atmel booth 4-230.

Atmel, Crank Software Farnell, Freescale, Crank Software

Embedded World Day 1 recap – The GUI of Things

Just a quick update from Day 1 at Embedded World 2015 – more of a photo blog today. Pictures are more fun anyway. (As the Crank writer, it pains me to write that.)

The buzz at the show is all around the Internet of Things, or the IoT. We were spreading the word of Crank Storyboard Suite being the GUI of Things, because the end nodes of the IoT ecosystem often require devices with interfaces. The GoT just might catch on. The GUIot perhaps?

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The booth, before the exhibition opened yesterday. We packed 10 demos in the booth and 2 stations for showing off Storyboard Suite.

Freescale, GreenHills running Crank Software

3D car cluster runing on Green HIlls INTEGRITY OS and the iMX6 Sabre Lite

Texas Instruments, Crank Software

Medical demo running on Linux on the TI AM437x

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Home security demo running on Linux on the Renesas RZ/A1

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Treadmill demo featuring video playback on Linux on the Atmel SAM A5D4X

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Washing machine demo on Linux on the Fujitsu IdeaBoxx

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Multi-market application demo on Linux on the new Freescale iMX 6SoloX

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Automotive cluster demo running on FreeRTOS on the STM32x

Day 2 starts….NOW. Follow @cranksoftware on Twitter for live updates.

***Updated***

To see photos of Crank Storyboard Suite in our partner’s booths, check out the coverage from Day 2.