Some UI feedback from a family!


(greenstuff) #1

Hi SmartThings!

We love you guys - we being my wife, our dog and less than 100 days ago our first baby!

We have 24 things in our house and use various apps from a pet feeding reminder (if nobody’s opened the cabinet) which has come in handy in the first month we had our first baby and couldn’t remember who was doing what… to our home alarm that auto-arms at night and when we both leave the house… because we’re way too forgetful to set it ourselves!

We use ST to control our hue lighting, home security and thermostat. The thermostat took the longest as I had to order a new part but it once I plugged it in its worked great! Saves energy while we’re both out of the house and changes at night when we’re asleep. Plus it really helped to be able to use what we’ve already got and not have to explain why we have to replace the thermostat with some robot eye that looks like it’s always staring at you ahem…

Next up, I’ve picked up an amazon deal for a whole-home energy monitor and I can’t wait to tie in those readings. I like how most things do double-duty, like the upstairs motion sensor also knows the temperature and humidity.

Anyway, after over a year of usage we’ve had a few moments when we wished it did something… here’s some feedback and things we’d love to see, thanks for listening!

1) Add commenting to the activity feed

We use an app that notifies us if our dog hasn’t been fed by a door not opening in the AM and PM but sometimes the dog is fed without the door or simply you want to leave a note on something or to each other that’s house-related and it would be great to do it right there, e.g…

ST: No one has fed the dog tonight
"Person1: I did, don’t worry, we were out"

ST: Thermostat changed to 19C
"Person2: It’s really cold in the basement now"
“Person1: I noticed that too”

ST: The Fridge is too hot
"Person1: Oops, I left it open"

… Great to send info as well as even post notes would be amazing. Like I can add my own chat into the mix and my wife gets it as well as its logged by ST e.g. I open up the feed and type “The furnace sounds strange today!” and it enters the time and date, I can even choose a topic or something for later review. Like a chatroom with the house. Right now, all we do is listen to the house drone on… :slight_smile:

2) Customize the Dashboard rows

Sometimes apps create their own rows like My Apps and Green Living or SmartThings Internal or Labs and it just makes the Dashboard really complicated. I’d like to be able to arrange my own folders as it’s the heart of the system and would help us tailor it to our thinking. I’d like to be able to move things into my own set e.g. Security, Climate, Lighting, Pets, etc, and then choose what’s shown in the bullet underneath the title. I love the ones that show real-time info instead of “3 Installed” and would love to pick what’s shown there, e.g. under Climate I’d pick the current inside and outside temperatures and our fridge.

Is there a way to remove a Dashboard row with no apps in it or can we auto-remove rows with no items in them from the Dashboard?

Even add a way to control selected Lights and Switches right from the Dashboard with one click would be great, like our living room light which we use all the time.

From the forums I gather I could copy and paste all the apps into my own versions, slightly modify them and publish them all back down? I think a way through the interface would be much easier…

3) Customize the layout of individual tiles

Under Things we have our thermostat on a Tile and the big circle in the middle is the temp and then this wee little gear in the corner you need to hit if you want to actually change the temperature. It’s very hard to hit this gear when tiles are in the middle rows and you’re using your phone with one hand and there’s a wriggling baby in the other… Hitting that tiny gear with your thumb should be an olympic sport of some kind.

I wish I could flip the ratios of gear vs info and make on our thermostat tile for example the temperature as the small circle and the big one the way into the controls. More controls would be great here too even – what about a three-tile wide version for my thermostat that adds a couple controls like temp up and down or on and off, etc.

4) Add data to notifications

We figured out our fridge wasn’t working by putting a multisensor inside it. I added an alert when it gets too hot, but the notification is only “Fridge is too hot.” which is useful because we can go look at the history and see the trend line but sometimes it’s just an open door, so it would be great to know if the temperature right in the notification is 10C or 4C e.g. “Fridge is too hot. (4C)”.

Similarly, "Motion in the Basement (4 minutes) is the dog wandering but “Motion in the Basement (48 minutes)” is the dog on a bender or something else…

I realize many of the ideas here could be accomplished through SmartApps but it would be great to see the UI become more powerful with more flexibility and customization.

Anyway, hope that’s useful and great work we’re excited about the future of SmartThings!


(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #2

Great ideas!

Check one Community developed alternative front-end. It doesn’t do most of what you ask, but might give you even more ideas and another tool that may evolve for some of your needs.

(by @625alex).


(greenstuff) #3

Thanks and yes it looks great. Totally tried that one on an android tablet I had lying around thinking it might look great as a wall unit but… I found it wasn’t always responsive and something conflicted with the smart app controlling our thermostat, so I had to uninstall it.


(sidjohn1) #4

Wait 1-2 months, a new SmartThings app should be released at the same time as hub2. From what I’ve seen in the developer meetings issue 2 and 3 will be resolved. You can knock out issue 4 by tweaking some of the existing smartapps to be more verbose. With a little work you can have your cake and eat it too :slight_smile:


(John S) #5

This is doable - but would need a smartapp, and something to use to actually enter the message to post. Cute idea though!


(greenstuff) #6

Seems like the new app not only has little new customization features it removed the ones that I had! Like I used to switch all the motion sensor tiles to temperature so I could see at a glance temps from all over the house but that features been removed…


(Mark B) #7

Need to option to have separate clients (sub account) permissions on the mobile app side. I would like to be able to install the app on the kids phone, but he does not need controls for much of anything except a few lights and presence sensor stuff so the house knows he is home. They do not need thermostat, camera access, etc.


(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #8

This is high on the requested feature list for the browser based Community developed http://SmartTiles.click and will fit its design quite well. Stay tuned!