The New Swishy . . .

(Kyle ) #1

The Category closest to my heart (been a designer by trade) but the most un-used one also

Ive just noticed the new swanky website design on: Im not sure if this is new as of today or as of a few days or even weeks . . . but im really impressed with the overall look and feel of it . . . i always felt the old design was unappealing as it was very bland (white washed) . . . so hats off to the team behind the latest versions . . .

Is anyone else interested in the design and branding aspect of SmartThings, or am i alone on this one ?

Is there any visual features / Improvements people would like to see implemented on the Website / IDE / Community / App / Etc . . . is there a need for snazzier (more visually appealing) aspects of the community / IDE or is it a wasted resource in the backend . . .

What are peoples views on the design / visual side of SmartThings overall . . . id love to hear peoples thoughts.

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

I’m very interested in the marketing strategies… A level above branding.

Some folks claim that Revolv’s “translucent plasticy ugly teardrop” hub design led to their demise. I sincerely doubt that was a major contribution. Similarly with SmartThings overall look & feel.

The lack of an integrated rule builder seems to be the weakest link in a DIY marketing strategy… Yet that’s no visible pre-sale. Meanwhile, SmartThings is not in the Target nor Sears smart home stores, nor “Works With Nest” – 3 possible “visible” channels it’s missing.

SmartThings total sales estimated at barely over 100,000 units.

(Kyle ) #3

Snap . . . Very much interested in this also, im intrigued to see how this is marketed to the UK Market as us Brits are a very different shade of grey when it comes to Marketing & Tech adoption.

I also believe this is true, the idea of having the rule builder built in gives the every day user the opportunity to do a lot more with the product and connect with it much deeper . . . it can also be used to show its not a product for " Geeks / Nerds / Enthusiasts " but can be embraced and utilized by all.

Do you belive (like i do) that the official integration of big products like Nest etc is just as important to the branding and public image of SmartThings as its actual functionality, i believe been able to use there logo on marketing material as an officially integratable product makes SmartThings Feel more appealing and useful to the everyday user.

Do you feel this could be improved drastically with a re-think of Design & Marketing or does the problem lay deeper or within the avenues of which the product is been sold . . for instance not in leading Home Automation stores as you stated above.

( co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #4

Yes. It never hurts to “ride along” with the market leaders… As long as they are not “stringing you along”.

I personally think that Nest’s tagline… “The Thoughtful Home™” is brilliant and is/will be difficult to compete against. ST has many ways to differentiate, but experts are writing that the challenge of the industry is seamless integration… Hence the value of perceived partnership via a “works with” program.

Meanwhile, the industry (consumer advocates?) have unjustified high confidence that Apple HomeKit will be a panacea.

There is, of course, a legacy industry which asserts DIY is the key problem, rather than the key to keeping costs low and scaling high. Quite a large number of households do not even change their own dumb lightswitches and fixtures or install their own dishwasher (or TV!, broadband, thermostat, ice maker, …), let alone implement their own “smart home”.

I’m unsure. Perhaps DIY can succeed, but it needs to be extraordinarily easy … And while SmartThings has some successful DIY features, I think everyone can objectively say that they fall far short of extraordinary.

(Kyle ) #5

I couldn’t agree more with all your points there mate, it seems we are on the same page with all this…

I am very interested to see where SmartThings turns in this next Crucial step of there existence . . . Its not news to anyone that the V2 is going to be aimed at the wider consumer market now Samsung is backing there corner . . . and also hitting the European market at the same time as the US with the launch of it . . . so the approach they take with this launch and the outlets to which they use to shift these products will make it very clear if this will ever be extraordinary or still remain a niche.

It seems the effort is been made quietly in the background with the brand image, website and the finer details (new clearer demo videos for installs etc) and im sure closer to V2 launch there will be a hive of activity and changes left right and center to cater for the more “everyday user” . . . We shall see.


I moved this topic to a new category as it was posted in an archive.

Very interesting topic!

@emilymichels is a great resource on these topics.

There’s more to come over the next couple of weeks!

(Jody) #7

I am not a designer. I do like the new site design. I prefer minimal designs myself. I don’t like design that gets in the way of function. I hope that future designs of the mobile app remove all of the bevels and skeuomorphism.

(Kyle ) #8

I agree that a more Flat design approach would suit the app as a pose to the currently old fashioned and garish Skeuomoph style one, i may have to mockup some concepts to see what the community think. However the new website is both Minimal and clean and also still remains functional . . . its near on perfect in my eyes.


@alui is another excellent resource on our design philosophy.

( co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #10

Good articles on the challenges of retail (the second is a comparison of Target vs. Sears…).

( co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #11

Still on Topic, I hope…

Today’s Home Depot home page is Smart Home centric. Features 3 (THREE!) Nest products. 0 (ZERO!) SmartThings…

(Emily Michels) #12

Hi Kyle, I’m the designer on the Marketing team here at SmartThings. I appreciate the shoutout and your sentiments on the new look and feel of It was a collaborative project that challenged our team to think deeply about the customer experience and visual representation of the brand. I agree with you that it is a huge improvement from the last version of the website. A testimony to how far we have come as a company…

Expect more improvements to the customer journey from the Marketing team over the next year. One of our goals is help the mainstream consumer audience understand ways to easily use SmartThings. With that goal we want to leverage the great work that comes out of the community.

Thanks and keep up the conversation!


We don’t sell our products at Home Depot yet, so it makes sense that they wouldn’t have our products on their front page.

( co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #14

I know that :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:…

I’m making a broader point / question about why isn’t SmartThings in brick & mortar retail? Lost exposure… Or at least, lost opportunity to compare exposure.

Sears carries over 100 smart home products. It’s hard to visualize SmartThings as a high profile player in this market when they have… no profile in such venues.


We’ve sold our products at Sears Connected Home pop-up stores. I think they were mostly in their Chicago test stores.

Expect to see us at all the usual places with our new products. Any day now… :smile:

( co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #16

That will be exciting… And a challenge, as my earlier links indicate how difficult it is to get retailers to dedicate sufficient staff and training!

(Kyle ) #17

I enjoyed reading them articles @tgauchat points out alot of key points

(DLee) #18

2014 just called and wants its web site design trend back. :smile:

(Ben Edwards) #19

We could have been in brick and mortar stores as early as Spring of 2013 but made the (correct) choice not to do that for the following reasons (among others):

  • It would have been very defocusing,
  • We would have given up a lot of control to much larger retailers
  • The smart home market wasn’t ready (in most ways it still is not)
  • It is hard to explain and sell a product like ours to people passing by a store shelf

Now however many of these issue and concerns have been alleviated (thanks in large part to Samsung) and so we will be in a much better place when we roll out in physical retail later this year.

There I go with timeframes again.

(DLee) #20

Great point. If my dad had picked up ST (but not a compatible light switch) at Home Depot to automate a light without doing any research, like he always does… well, let’s just say things would not have ended well for him, Home Depot, or the technical support demand over the phone/email on ST and myself…