Prepare to Design the Future
March 19–20, 2017: Training
March 20–22, 2017: Tutorials & Conference
San Francisco, CA

In-Person Training
Designing connected products: Practical experience design for the IoT

Claire Rowland (Independent), Elizabeth Goodman (confectious), Martin Charlier (Unmade)
Sunday, March 19 & Monday, March 20, 9:00am - 5:00pm
Location: Yorkshire
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This course will sell out—sign up today!

Participants should plan to attend both days of this 2-day training course. Platinum and Training passes do not include access to tutorials on Monday.

Claire Rowland, Elizabeth Goodman, and Martin Charlier offer a solid, practical grounding in the core principles and techniques for creating great UX with hardware, applications, and data, enabling you to hit the ground running as a connected product designer.

What you'll learn, and how you can apply it

  • Gain a solid grasp of the key technologies and primary business models of the IoT
  • Get a guide to common design challenges in combining software and connected devices—and a cheat sheet for solving them
  • Learn conceptual frameworks to help you identify and prioritize your specific challenges and get hands-on instruction for dealing with them
  • Understand techniques for rapidly prototyping how using your product might feel (and iterating on it) without touching electronics
  • Get designer-oriented guidance for working with the kind of data IoT devices collect
  • Discover tools for surfacing and mitigating sensitive social and technical questions about security and privacy that connected products often raise

This training is for you because...

  • You're a designer with a software background who is new to (or newly working on) connected products.
  • You're a technologist interested in the UX dimension of the IoT.


  • A working knowledge of UX design methods for software applications
  • Basic awareness of how common consumer connected products work
  • No prior experience designing for connected products required

Designing for the internet of things is often treated as a mix of industrial design and digital interaction design. However, even though brilliantly designed objects and interfaces are important, they’re not enough for success. The world is full of failed products with beautiful apps and stunning hardware. What they’re missing is a focus on how hardware, software, and data work together to address user needs over time. Claire Rowland, Elizabeth Goodman, and Martin Charlier offer a solid, practical grounding in the core principles and techniques for creating great UX with hardware, applications, and data, enabling you to hit the ground running as a connected product designer. Employing presentation, discussion, and hands-on activities, Claire, Elizabeth, and Martin build understanding from creating a key interaction to mapping out the user’s journey through an entire service ecosystem.

Day 1: Designing interfaces and objects

Facets of UX for connected products

  • UI
  • Interaction design
  • Industrial design
  • Interusability
  • Conceptual models
  • Service design
  • Productization
  • Technology enablers
  • How they all fit together

Tech primer

  • Components: Sensors and actuators
  • Networks: Latency/reliability/speed
  • Power management
  • Architecture: Where does the intelligence live, and why does this matter?
  • Data: Algorithms and storage
  • Interoperability (and why it’s at the level of networks and basic data, not sense making)

About making things

  • What industrial designers do and their key considerations for designing for connected devices
  • How the industrial design process differs from digital design
  • Types of user interfaces for connected embedded devices
  • How to approach the design of different device types
  • Hardware logistics: From manufacturing to shipping—getting a physical product to market and how this is different from getting software to market

Conceptual models, interusability, and cross-platform interactions

  • Activity: Designing for coherent system UX
  • Patterns
  • Best practices in designing key interactions and “housekeeping” functions common to many connected products
  • Activity: Rethinking common interactions

Day 2: Managing business and technical complexity

Business and operations

  • Value propositions: Why so many products don’t seem to have them
  • Business models: Products versus services, impact on design (whole life-cycle)
  • How strategic planning for products versus suites of products versus platforms affects everyday design work
  • Ops support for connected products and how it differs from pure software

Holistic UX in product/service ecosystems

  • Understanding users and the broad customer experience
  • Iterative design and prototyping
  • Service design tools as a way of managing complexity for connected products
  • Activity: Service blueprinting

Designing with big and little data

  • Privacy and security
  • Activity: Threat modeling (using the key interaction we discussed in Day 1)
  • Concluding discussion

About your instructors

Photo of Claire Rowland

Claire Rowland is an independent UX design, research, and product strategy consultant working on internet of things products and services for mainstream consumers. She is the lead author of Designing Connected Products: UX for the Consumer Internet of Things, published by O’Reilly. Claire has a particular interest in the use of technology in mundane, everyday activities and has worked in UX design and research for mobile, multiplatform, and web services since 1997. Previously, she worked on energy management and home automation services as the service design manager for AlertMe, a connected home platform provider, and was head of research for the London studio of design consultancy Fjord, where she led Fjord’s involvement in the Smarcos EU consortium researching the interusability of interconnected embedded devices and services.

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Photo of Elizabeth Goodman

Elizabeth Goodman investigates the possibilities and perils of emerging technologies in her design, research, and writing. Elizabeth’s work has taken her from exploratory research and design teams at Intel, Yahoo, and Fuji-Xerox to her current position with 18F, a service and product design group within the US government aimed at making federal agencies more efficient, more transparent, more accessible, and more accountable to the people they serve. She authored the second edition of Observing the User Experience, a widely used handbook of design research methods and speaks widely on the design of mobile and pervasive computing systems at conferences, schools, and businesses. Elizabeth holds a PhD from UC Berkeley’s School of Information, where her research focused on human-computer interaction and design practice for novel technologies and was supported by National Science Foundation and Intel fellowships. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and two children.

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Photo of Martin Charlier

Martin Charlier is a strategic designer and is currently product manager at fashion technology startup Unmade. Previously, Martin worked at innovation firm Frog Design, cutting-edge art collective Random International, and digital service design consultancy Fjord and was cofounder of Rain Cloud, a project exploring new interaction models for connected products. Martin’s experience goes across new media art, industrial design, interaction design, and service design. His speculative design work has been awarded by the Royal Society of Arts, and he is a fellow of the organization.

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