Many complications can arise between tenants in shared living spaces, especially in one of the biggest shared common areas: the fridge. Due to the lack of division and security of fridge space, tenants suffer from unequal distribution and disorganization of the space which can often lead to tenants mistaking others’ items as their own. When living with roommates whom aren’t particularly close, tenants can find their items stolen, causing tension within the home.
Developing a smart fridge and companion app that prioritizes security, organization, and fair distribution of space to minimize tension between tenants and complaints to the landlord.
Students and resident-dwellers with roommates (both familiar and/or unfamiliar).
Busy schedules, often needs to prepare and store food, may have social gatherings.
Shared living spaces such as college residences, apartments, condos, and AirBnbs.
Tech-savvy, owns a smart phone, familiar with visual displays and touch functions.
Based on our user analysis, we wanted the user to be able to open and close the fridge with ease like they normally do on a daily basis hassle free. The fridge has a touch ID sensor on the handles calibrated to each individual user through the app to identify the user and which compartments from within to unlock and keep locked.
Since the majority of tenants living together are around the 2-6 range, we decided to divide the compartments with the maximum in mind. However, the fridge is modular in the sense that it reconfigures its space based on the number of users it must accommodate. Non-configured shelves remain unlock as shared storage space.
Calibration is simplified into 4 easy steps, and fridge can be accessed as it normally is on a daily basis with ease.
2 simple steps, requires communication between both tenants and the requesting tenant will receive access upon the permitting tenant’s approval.
2 simple steps for accepting or rejecting request, and 3 simple steps for modifying the requested time. Requesting tenant will receive a notification upon response. Permitting tenant will receive notification when requesting tenant responds to request.
1 easy step, user toggles between enable and disable to enable and disable the locking system of their compartments.
Designed with minimum gestures and screens in mind to allow for easy, intuitive use.
Needs: Heather needs a way to organize her food from her roommates’ and stop a mystery food thief from stealing her food.
How: She calibrates the fridge by entering her user info, handprints, pin, and shelf colour. Once completed, she can easily unlock and lock her compartments through the fridge system’s touch ID.
Needs: Heather is prepping for a party dinner and realizes she forgot to buy some tomatoes. She sees some in Bethany’s compartments and would like to access her shelf for 20 minutes.
How: She clicks Bethany’s profile and clicks “Request Access”. She drags the timer to 20 minutes and confirms. If Bethany accepts the request, the next time Heather accesses the fridge, it will unlock Bethany’s compartments, and start the countdown.
Needs: Bethany receives a notification on her phone that Heather would like to access her compartments in the fridge for 20 minutes. She would like to give Heather access, but only for 15 minutes.
How: Bethany goes to Fridge Requests in the drop down and swipes left to respond. She taps modify then drags the timer to 15 minutes and confirms. She will receive a notification when Heather has accessed her compartments in the fridge.
Needs: Heather is planning a party where guests will need to access the fridge to get drinks or snacks. She needs to allow everyone access to her shelves.
How: Heather clicks enable guest access which disables the locking system for her compartments. Other tenants’ compartments will still remain locked during this time.
Initially my role was heavily focused on the landlord’s part of the app; however since our prime objective of the app and device was easy accessibility, we chose to scrap the landlord’s part since they would have too many roles to maintain: input user info, calibrate fridges, and remove users. This led me to revise the tenant’s UX and UI with Heather as they had more roles that needed to be simplified thanks to the landlord’s removal.
If we were to develop the app and device further, it would be interesting to expand its capabilities so that it could also function in an office or workplace setting. The app could perhaps be improved if we were to expand on the specificity of why the user is requesting to access the fridge and rather than the requested user’s request being immediately activated when they next access the fridge, the user can choose when they would like to activate the permitted request. To not let this last long-term, there could be an expiry date to the request.
Information Design, Print, & Interactive
Mobile App, UI/UX