Category Reorganization

We are probably due to have a good look at the categories in the site and see which are missing, which are overloaded, which are no longer useful. We should take into consideration the changing population and audience for this site - not-just developers, not just in North America.

A few category ideas I have would be:

  • Add: Privacy and Security
  • Add: Something about integrations
  • Split: SmartApps
  • Split: Devices
  • Maybe a UK specific area for them to talk about their weird devices :slight_smile:

I also want to see about a known issues portal too.

Just some quick ideas to get the discussion going. Lots more to do than this.


Something for General IOT discussions? Trends, business models, statistics…or do you want those in the general SmartThings category?

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What about having US and UK subs under the device category? You use a lot of US devices right @AutomateEverything

Also maybe bugs and glitches?

Personally, I’d like to see connected devices further divided into subcategories. This might help reduce the number of duplicate topics.

Heating and Cooling
Weather Monitoring
Lights, Switches, and Relays
Sirens, Doorbells, and Security Systems
Motion and Contact Sensors
Audio/Video including Cameras
Controllers and Gateways
Handheld Remotes
Geopresence devices
Irrigation, water valves, moisture sensors, pool equipment
Window Coverings
Medical and Fitness Equipment
Pets, Aquariums, and Livestock Equipment
Appliances and kitchen gadgets
Automobile accessories including garage doors
Energy Monitoring and Power Generation
Voice Control Devices
Wearables other than Fitness and Medical Devices


I know this is about categories and this is kind of related. Is there a way to filter or sort the search results? Sometimes, I know that something I was looking for was posted by a particular user or in certain category, and I usually want to see the the most recent results first.


I will have you know that there is nothing “Weird” about my ST Connected Fork nor my Nest Integrated Shoe Laces . . .

Some kind of category for newbie questions, so they dont clog up other categories with repeated junk posts that they have just failed to simply search for the answer too . . . maybe call it ST4D (SmartThings For Dummies)

Every device i own is technically US spec, Because as i have stated in other posts, the UK HA market is light-years behind everyone else (even behind Afghanistan) and i dont like waiting haha . . . the only issue this could rise in the future is when UK style Smart Sockets & Wall Dimmer Switches etc appear, i may be stranded as i presume they will not work with my current US Hub, and if i was to get a UK style HUB V2 then all my current and future devices i import may not work . . . its a hard life been British (Sips on a cup of Yorkshire tea)

Also a Category for advanced / proven track record developers (which obviously doesn’t include me haha) to discussed bigger and more advanced projects and help one another and not be interrupted by the every day user . . . like me haha (This would need to be some sort of badge/trust level admission style thing like the Beta group and SmartLounge)


This is by far the best approach i think . . . it will make it miles easier to find what your looking for as the community grows.

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This is a great opportunity to reduce redundant Topics that are bugs, glitches, and feature requests…

And hopefully make lots of use of the Solved :white_check_mark: check mark!


I think localization would be helpful. Quite a few folks from across the pond getting rightfully confused when it comes to US vs UK wiring standards.

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Great idea.

Here is my input from a few months ago.


One danger of localisation is fragmentation of the user base.

I would suggest at this point you would want at most a single area for each region and make it clear it is for region specific issues only.

On the issue of segmenting the device space, I think in the first instance we should err on the side of fewer, higher level categories if possible. A long list of specific items can be daunting, even troublesome for some to navigate, especially for newcomers.

An example - would you classify the Logitech Harmony Remote under “Audio/Video including Cameras” or under “Handheld Remotes”?

Ok - now, if a newcomer comes along and wants to automate control of their TV, where are they going to look to find a solution?

Maybe a taxonomy along the lines of:

  • Power & Lighting
  • Heating & Cooling
  • Doors & Windows
  • Audio, Video & Entertainment
  • Pool, Garden & Outdoors
  • Kitchen, Laundry & Animals
  • People, Places & Transport
  • Other Sensors & Information Feeds
  • Other devices

(Even nine entries strikes me as being on the long side…)

In the above schema, door open sensors, door openers (including garage door openers), locks, blind motors, glass breakage sensors, etc. would all fall under “Doors & Windows”.


Yea maybe like “Outside US Z-Wave / Zigbee” "Outside US Electrical"
Although I just found out door locks are terribly unstandardized abroad as well…

The problem is we always run into “my use case is not your use case.” I have not had success in the past with device taxonomies that divide based on expected use case.

Contact sensors are good example. If I use them on the kitchen drawer, which I do, then they’re going to get separated From discussions of exactly the same sensor used on the door and separated again from exactly the same sensor used outdoors on the gate. And maybe separated a fourth time from the exact same sensor used on a chicken coop, which someone puts under “animals.”

I’m not sure what “people, places, transport,” means in terms of devices. Or where in the suggested taxonomy would conversations about the jawbone up fitness band or the Apple Watch or Amazon Echo go.

I think it’s fine if you want to have broader categories, anything would be better than what we have now. But I would avoid making use case assumptions. So maybe something as simple as:

Heating and Cooling
Window Coverings
All Other

Would pull out the biggest repetitive topics and leave everything else tumbled together.

After all, we don’t get that many topics about power generation, aquariums, or fitness bands. We get some, but it’s fairly easy to find the relevant threads.

The ones where you have to search through dozens of similar topics are in the big four areas: lighting, sensors, locks, and HVAC.

I listed window coverings As its own category just because The information in the threads tends to stay good for a pretty long time, but people usually have no idea what the brands are when they first start looking. So new people don’t recognize that threads are relevant just from the topic titles. But it could be shoved over to other as well, there aren’t that many threads on the topic.

So just speaking for myself, I do prefer having very granular narrow categories when it comes to device discussions. But again, anything is better than what we have now. If we go for broader categories then I flip to the other side and I like to see just four or five big categories based on device class.


Oh, I almost forgot: one tip I got from the usability group a couple of years ago which is strange but seems to be true…

If you name a category “all other” rather than just “other” people are more likely to use it. They have more confidence that in fact that’s where they’re supposed to put the stuff.

As an example, if we have a category “locks” and a category “other” someone would probably try to start a conversation about sirens under the locks category.

But if we have a category “locks” and a category “all other” apparently most people will put the siren conversations in the “all other.” Just one of those usability study findings which is weird, but appears to hold up. So might be useful. :sunglasses:

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UK? Weird? Hmmm

Don’t see why you would need a UK centric topic.

The only weird thing is their power plug, but you have it in HK as well. You could call the Australian power plug weird as well.

I guess we really talk about the European z-wave frequency. Most devices operate the same.

P.S. Why the them vs. us?

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Not so much them versus us as several very real issues that come up over and over again in device discussions.

One) as you mentioned the z wave frequencies are different in the US and Europe and not all devices are certified for all frequencies. Somebody might want to talk about a device which is only available in Europe. We run into this all the time in the window coverings topics, because for whatever reason these are just more popular in Europe and many of the devices are not made in the US frequency.

Two) power requirements are different and again some devices are made to run everywhere, some come in different flavors, and some are only made to work with one voltage group.

Three) wiring is often different. If you’re talking about light switches, for example, a blue wire typically means something different in the UK than it does in the US. Even more significantly, in the US most wire colors are not mandated, and you’re allowed to use striping, that is putting a bit of tape on a wire at one end to indicate it’s something different than typical use. There’s a lot of white wire in US that has a bit of black tape on it to indicate it’s a hot wire. You generally will not see that in Europe. And it’s typically pretty easy to fish up a neutral in a US house that’s less than 75 years old, but generally impossible to do so in most European homes.

Four) terminology is different. One very obvious One is again in lighting, so it comes up a lot: a “three-way switch” in the US would be called a “two way switch” in England, while a “three-way switch” in England would be called a “four-way switch” in the US. Ground and earth don’t usually confuse people too much, but neutral and common get misunderstood all the time. And I have seen Americans jump to some really wild conclusions about what “strapper” means! LOL (I’m from the U.S., but I worked on several multinational teams doing hardware specifications.)

So while many discussions will be the same, some will be quite different. I don’t know if we actually need different categories, or if we just need to encourage people to put (US) and (EU) in their topic lines. At least for whatever category light switches end up in: this is the area where I have the biggest fear about miscommunication leading to somebody burning down their house.

This hasn’t been a big deal up until now, but if smartthings does introduce a UK version of the hub then I think some forum conventions will be useful. :sunglasses:

Weird? Our power plug isn’t weird - the UK plug is weird though - who puts a fuse in a power plug?

Besides, the Chinese thought our power plug so nice, they use it too, and 1.3 billion people can’t be wrong…



Calling shenanigans because you are quoting me out of context. I used the :smile: and you omitted it!

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One more category reorganization issue:

I’m not sure what the best approach would be but I do think something has to be done about community developed device handlers.

A couple of months ago I would’ve thought a subcategory under devices for just that, “Community-developed device handlers” where people could put the final version of working device handlers would make the most sense.

Now, though, it seems like it would make more sense for people to put those in github. But what do we do when somebody doesn’t?

As it is, we’re ending up with multiple topics about the same device, and the working device handler is buried 130 messages into a 250 message topic.

There are several examples of this: the fibaro multisensor, the aeon six multisensor, and a new one just this week for the econolink smoke detector, etc.

People are going to have questions and enhancement requests of the device handler author, so we do need discussion topics about device handlers but finding the correct device Handler itself right now is very difficult.

I don’t think you can quote emojis :boom: but don’t quote me on that.