© 2018 by Zhangyan Ling

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ge kitchen hub

As we try to bring a better kitchen experience with new GE smart home technologies, GE Kitchen Hub is an all-in-one smart display and ventilator above the stove, which features as a control center, a cooking assistant, and an entertainment system.

Duration

Role

Contribution

Software

Recognition

Oct 2017 - Jan 2018

UX Designer at GE Appliances

Contributed to Ideation of system;

Fully responsible for wireframes, UI, and prototyping for CES 2018.

Top Tech of CES 2018 (Home Appliances)

BACKGROUND

The Problem

 

Smart home technology has been developing for years, however, the application was limited. Consumers seem to be not willing to pay for the smart home technology as the appliances with new tech features are costing way more than they expect.

 

Kitchen has always been the heart of a home. Are there any opportunities lying in that area? With smart home technologies, how can we enjoy a better life and cooking experience?

General Solution

“The kitchen is the heart of the home, and the range is the heart of the kitchen.” GE Appliances has been working on smart cooking appliances for years, and the general concept was to create an all-in-one smart kitchen hub over the range, which is likely to be a control center of their home and an entertainment system.

Design Process

 

GE Appliances has had this concept for a while, however, how the system on the Kitchen Hub would be was still a missing puzzle. Product designers at GE Appliances designed the physical model, and my responsibility was to design the system and prototype the UI for this kitchen hub.

 

There were 2 phases: concept phase and production phase. Concept phase (Oct 2017-Jan 2018) was aimed to present the new GE Kitchen Hub concept and showcase on CES 2018, and the production phase (Feb 2018-Present) is aimed to bring this concept into the real world. I took charge in UX and UI design in the concept phase and contributed to UI design and UI guidelines in the production phase.

Phase 0

Physical Product Design

Phase 1

System Concept Design

Phase 2

Design for Production

Research

Ideation

Wireframes

UI &

Prototypes

Refine Features & UI

UI Guidelines

PHASE I
System Concept Design

Market Research: Major Players

 

Who are the major players? What are they doing?

Most of the large home appliance companies are trying to apply smart home technologies to the new kitchen appliances. Samsung and LG have their smart fridges and connected wall ovens launched; Whirlpool also has its connected wall ovens on the market.

The most compatible products would be the Samsung Family Hub Fridge. It is one of the most innovated smart major appliances on the current market.

User Research: Persona

 

Who are our target consumers? What are they looking for?

GEA categorize consumers into 5 types based on their preference on home appliances.

The target users of GE Kitchen Hub would be like:

Amanda

 

Value design and aesthetics

Taking care of family with frequent use of her beautiful appliances

Willing to pay for modern technology and feature

User Research: Ergonomics

 

GE Kitchen Hub is located at a unique place, where is over the range. It was a big challenge to design the digital user interfaces at such a high position. Users are likely to get fatigue if interacting with the screen for too long, and for some users, they are even hardly to reach the top of the screen. Therefore, we did an ergonomics analysis and decided the basic UI layout based on the result.

For US 10% female, they can reach half of the screen with no difficulty, however it will cause fatigue when they reach the higher place or last for more than 7 mins to interact with the screen. So for the basic UI layout, important information and interactive elements should be placed in the lower part of the screen, and the other half of the screen will be utilized to put some secondary or view-only information.

Secondary information

Primary information

Ideation: Affinity Diagram, Lego Walkthrough, Mindmap

 

What features can the GE Kitchen Hub have?

We utilized affinity diagraming and Lego walkthrough to brainstorm the potential features.

The features were filtered and categorized in the mindmap.

Final Concept: 4-in-1 Kitchen Hub

 

After several rounds of ideation, we finally designed 4 primary parts for the system:

Cooking, Smart Home, Entertainment, and Social

Cooking

​​

  • Show step-by-step video recipes

  • Set up family profiles to remember everyone's appetite

  • Connected to cooking appliances for precision cooking

  • Record cooking process and share online

  • Create customized recipes

Smart Home

​​

  • Control all connected home appliances

  • Control environment light and temperature

  • Security camera

Entertainment

​​

  • Enjoy movies and TV shows when doing boring chore

  • Sync favorite music to Kitchen Hub​

Social

​​​​

  • Video call with friends to share special recipes

  • Quickly view social media

Wireframes

User Interfaces and Prototypes

Proximity Sensor

GE Kitchen Hub has a proximity sensor. When the user approaches the cooktop with a potential intention of using the Kitchen Hub, the screen will turn on automatically.

Recipes and Family Profile

Thousands of recipes that are easy to find and follow. Users can set up their diet information. The system would alert the users when they choose a recipe containing ingredients that may cause allergy.

Step-by-Step Guide and Precision Cooking

The recipe will guide the user step by step. GE Kitchen Hub connects to other cooking appliances, therefore, when the timer of this step ends, the cooktop may switch heat level automatically based on the recipe.

Built-in Cameras

Two built-in cameras allow users to take photos when cooking. It can also record the cooking process and generate a video that is good to go on social media.

Smart Home

The Kitchen Hub can connect to all the smart home appliances. Users are able to control appliances, environment lighting, and temperature through our system. Users can also monitor the security camera here.

Entertainment & Social

Enjoy movie and music when doing the chore!

Share special recipes with friends and families by video call.

Next Steps

 

The concept was exhibited on CES 2018 in Feb. After that, the project got into the next phase that we want to bring the concept to the real world, The expected price was revealed at about $600. My responsibility in the next phase was designing the UI style, the cooking feature, and UI guidelines.

PHASE II
Design for Production
View Phase II
To be continued...