Project Glow Up - Improving & Excelling Our User Experience

About

This project is a massive undertaking to improve user experience across the entire Inovelli encounter (I had to think of a synonym for experience so I didn't use the word twice in the same sentence). As referenced in this thread: 2021 - The Year of Improved User Experience we will be working on improving everything from when you first enter the site all the way until you install your device. We realize that the smart home industry as a whole can be overwhelming and difficult to navigate. We want to change that. Not only for our products, but to help you with other products as well, leaving you empowered to create your dream smart home.

Vision

Any user, despite their experience level or interest, should have a clear roadmap for building out their house as well as help to implement it.

Areas

There will be multiple areas we focus on in this project and as referenced in the other thread, it will be ongoing. Here's what we're focusing on in 2021 (NOTE: We'll be working on some of these simultaneously):
  1. Foundation - Get Your House Right
  2. Eliminating Noise - Only Show What’s Relevant
  3. Education - Videos, Tutorials, Knowledge-Base Articles, etc
  4. In-Store/Site & Post-Purchase Experience

Foundation

This is where we'll be spending the first part of the year and have hired someone to help us with this (welcome Donovan!). But as they say in Matthew -- we need to build our house on rock, not sand or the rain (aka competition) will knock us down and we'll drift away. So, time to get our house right.

What we’ll be doing here is the following:

  • Forum Cleaning/Organizing (Eric started 02/18/21)
    • Add tags, Proper Titles, etc
    • UX Improvement for easy navigation
    • Wiki Development
  • Knowledge Base Inovelli.com Cleaning/Organizing
    • Add tags, SEO Metadata, Proper Titles, etc
    • UX Improvement for easy navigation
  • Support Upgrade for CS Reps
    • Easy access to common issue articles for faster response time
    • Chat and a dedicated phone number (will start with scheduling a time, then move to live)
  • Automated Emails (more on this in the Eliminating Noise Area)
    • Automated Support Emails that are more accurate
    • Automated After Purchase Emails with relevant content to help with setup (ie: non-marketing)
  • Transitioning our inventory program over to our ERP system (right now it’s separate)
    • This will lead to a lot of automations (one example: when inventory is checked in, we’ll send an auto email to people who requested to know when inventory is back in stock)

Eliminating Noise

This will be huge once implemented and hopefully there aren't limitations with our platform (fingers crossed). But the goal here is to eliminate data that's not relevant to you as a consumer. If you have a SmartThings hub, you don't want to sort through all the Hubitat and Home Assistant tutorials, or if you have a Ring hub, you'll likely want to know that the Red Series switch will work, but it will be limited in what it can do on your platform.

  • Hub-Defined Experience
    • Your site experience will be based on the hub you have (or don’t have) – ie: SmartThings users will be redirected to: smartthings.inovelli.com (note: not a live link) or something similar
    • Your emails and communication from us will be hub specific – we want to target all communication around you, which should help you have clearly defined instructions

Education

Not only is there a lack of education in the industry, there's a lack of knowledge of what our products can do for you and that will change. As more and more people come to the site and are curious, we (Inovelli) need to do a better job explaining this. We haven't fully defined this area yet, but we've tossed around an idea of a Smart Home 101 where you can choose your own character (based on experience/goals) and that person will walk you through their journey.

In addition, we'll continue to put out tutorial videos, hub specific setups, etc.

In-Store/Site & Post-Purchase Experience

Yes, it does say in-store :slight_smile: -- more to come here as I can't spill the beans yet. But look for us in-store in the back half of the year (with a test run hopefully coming in the front half). We have some projects in place right now (currently working on) that will be a pretty big deal for our in-store play.

But the experience needs to encompass many things:

  • Packaging – needs to capture attention, educate and drive to purchase in a matter of seconds
  • In-Box Materials – need to make the installation a breeze

Timeline

As per the norm, the timeline is fluid lol. The good news is that we've been working on a few of these in 2020, so there is a start and I think we've come a long way internally so that we can now work on everything above.

I'll post our goals/timeline below and then cross them off in the above sections when they're complete.

Foundation Area = Complete in Q1 May 2021
Eliminating Noise = Complete in Q2 July 2021
Education = Ongoing – no end date
In-Store/Site & Post Purchase Experience = Beginning Mid Q3


Feedback

As always, we would love your help! If you have any questions around the above or see areas you'd like us to improve not listed above, please let us know. This project is going to be a major overhaul and we know we don't have all the answers or experience, so we'd love feedback.

Thanks!

Eric


Task List

Here's where I'll capture tasks for us to complete that we may not be able to get to right away.
  1. Support Page (Fan/Light Switch is different res/color than the other two) - fix the asset (thanks @dj13990)
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Just updated the support site (mobile still needs to be fixed): https://support.inovelli.com/portal/en/home

You’ll notice it’s a little more organized and user friendly when you first arrive. You can either search articles, click on the category you’re interested in, or find popular articles/FAQ’s/Downloads, etc.

If you click into one of the categories, you will then be able to click on the specific device you have (note: spacing is a little off – this will be fixed):

Finally, if you click on your device, it will take you to the individual hub pages (again, spacing is kinda sus, but it will be fixed):

I’m checking to see if there’s a way to organize the articles a bit better within the categories, but for now it seems like it’s doing it based on popularity.

More to come here!

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Forums need a device tag or specific sub-category. This would separate the DEVICE from the HUB. Sometimes they are related, sometimes they are not.

I’ll come back and add more as I think of them.

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Thanks for the fantastic update @Eric_Inovelli! I really wish more companies would adopt this level of openness.

It’s great to hear you are focusing on your foundation this year. I feel like companies frequently overlook the value of building a solid foundation, to help facilitate their growth.

I feel like the best smart houses are the heavily automated smart houses. Technology is here to do my bidding, and eliminate repetitive tasks. I don’t consider it helping if I need to manually trigger something, or ask the house to do something on my behalf.

Good automation takes time to perfect, so don’t lose hope if it takes a little longer than expected. As your products keep proving, good things come to those who wait :wink:

One initial suggestion that comes to mind is building on the categories.

If possible you should extend that view into each top-level category, instead of the more text heavy view offered currently.

@kreene1987 makes a good point as well. In some cases the process is the same regardless of the device or the hub. It might be worth creating general topics using some common verbiage, and then have device or hub specific “keys” if you will. That’ll save you writing the same article over and over again.

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My suggestion- a cookbook.

Inovelli switches and smart hubs can do a ton of cool stuff. But once you get past the obvious (timers, motion sensors, etc) there’s a lot of very cool but non-obvious automations to be done that can improve quality of life (and WAF). This would be generally non-hub-specific but could include specific procedures for popular hubs.

Put differently- all this tech is a giant tub of Legos. Give people some pictures of stuff they can build and that will both excite people and drive up demand for Legos. :slight_smile:

An example of what I mean- program an event so at some point at night (or while house is in sleep mode / night scene is active), the ‘default dim level’ on a switch is changed to say 30%. Thus, you can go around the house turning lights on, but your dark-adapted eyes won’t be blinded by a light going on full.

On a similar thread- the config button. Right now most of mine run a scene that sets that light on at ~25-50% (depending on the light). Having an instant ‘on dim’ button is very convenient and has very high WAF.

Or, stuff to do with sensors. IE, when a ‘goodnight mode’ button is pressed, check all the sensors in the house and if all doors and windows are closed, then send the bedroom switch a 5 second green blink, otherwise send red blink.
The ‘LED bar is red when garage door is open’ one is another good one.

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This is a fantastic idea! I’d cook some of those up.

I love this!! As someone that is in the newer side to z wave this would be a big help.

I hope you don’t change the ability for light/dark mode on the site. I get a good giggle out of pressing the switch and it turning on. This makes you guys seem more open and user based (to me).

I also currently love how you package your products, but I do wish you included more wire jumpers. I have yet to have a switch in my house that’s as simple as only needing a neutral jumper.

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I’d suggest that you make your own and not use the Inovelli ones.

1 - They’re a little short.
2 - The tinned ends make them hard to properly wrap in a bundle.
3 - You can’t mix a tinned end and a regular 14 ga Romex conductor in the same set of holes. The tinned one is fatter and won’t tighten properly on the Romex.

1 - Buy a short roll of Romex. You probably want 14 ga, maybe 12 ga depending on your circuit.
2 - Cut an appropriate length from the spool.
3 - Using a pair of pliers, pull the white (or whatever you need) conductor from the Romex sheath.
4 - Strip the insulation off the ends.

FWIW . . .

Thanks Eric, I love that you guys are so open and look for feedback all the time. I think it looks great and I like the reorganization. I know I’m very visual and the slightest difference draws the eye to it. On your product support page, the Fan/Light switch picture is slightly different and looks off. I know it’s petty, but it makes it look unfinished.

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Hey Kevin – I’m working on the forums and would love more of your thoughts on this.

(And anyone else who wants to chime in!)

I was thinking of re-organizing the various categories to make it more consistent with our website and support page where we lead with the device and then follow with the hub. In other words, you come for help with your specific device and from there select the hub you have and you should be able to find your answer.

Anyway, kind of like this mock-up (never-mind the icons, they’re placeholders):

When you click on Switches, there will be sub-categories such as:

  • Wiring Discussion
  • Firmware Discussion
  • General Discussion (ie: non-hub related issues)
  • SmartThings
  • Hubitat
  • Home Assistant
  • Other

This would be similar across the device categories.

Tags would include the various hubs, device, model and firmware version

Am I missing anything?


You’re welcome – we wouldn’t be who we are without you all so I appreciate you as well :slight_smile:

I think @Brianna_Inovelli found out about this the hard way this past week when the auto email around abandoned cart went haywire lol (sorry to all who got a ton of emails)!

Yes, totally agree – unfortunately this turned out to be a Zoho limitation and we can’t edit these pages to mimic the front page :frowning:

That’s a good point – we’ll get our collective brainstorm hats on. @Donovan_Inovelli let’s keep this in mind.

Dude… yes. I forgot to tell you (geez, it’s already been 16 days) that Brianna’s and my brain was spinning when we read this. Like we could create this cookbook and link to it with one of the auto-emails after purchase.

Example would be if someone buys a Red Series Dimmer and has Hubitat – we could cater the cookbook to their, “tastes” and it would only show, “recipes” related to Hubitat.

Yes! This is perfect. I love this idea man, thank you!

I’m a big dark mode guy and love the icon too :slight_smile: – glad you like it lol!

Thank you, that really means a lot. Brianna works really hard at designing those and she’s been crushing it. Wait until you see the new design (based on community feedback FYI) – it is amazing.

As for the jumper wires, it’s something we can consider for sure as I don’t think they’re too expensive. But as @Bry suggested, you could buy some Romex at Lowes/HD and create your own. I think I bought a 50ft one and it’s lasted me my entire installations.

Good eye! Not petty at all – I love the attention to detail. What happened was I couldn’t find a pic of the fan/light that matches and I thought it would work, but it’s definitely off in color and resolution and I’ve been meaning to fix it. Thanks for the reminder – I’m going to add it to the list above so I don’t forget again!

Can confirm this one. We seriously appreciate you all being patient as we try to perfect our customer experience. We’ll be fully launching our new automated emails based off of actions on site. This means when you leave your cart abandoned you’ll get an email reminder (this has been edited so you should only be getting two emails total, one within an hour after abandon and one after 24 hours).

I’ve also updated our purchase email series. You’ll be getting your first email after purchase, this email will include your purchased products along with some use cases to show you what your new products can do. (I will mention that the layout and design of our blogs is also something we’re working on editing as it’s not nearly as nice as we’d like it to be.)

The second and third purchase emails you’ll receive will provide you with the install links you need to setup the products in your cart. The links should be specific to the hub you have selected in your account settings! (These emails will also contain your tracking number)

As you start to get our new emails, I’d love to hear any feedback or possible edits that might be beneficial for you! Thanks as always for helping us create the best possible experience for our community :slight_smile: Now I have to start letting you know about the rewards program… :wink:

This is exactly the direction I was thinking, need a parent for device class (switch, bulb, plug, etc.), then you can “tag” it with a hub or other specific item within that parent category. I would stray from a child category though, because there might be parallel issues that might help someone else outside of that “child” section. I vote parent, then tag only within that parent:

  1. Wiring
  2. Hardware (maybe even a tag for LZW31-SN, LZW36, etc.)
  3. Software/Drivers
  4. Hub: Home Assistant
  5. Hub: Hubitat
  6. Hub: Smartthings
  7. Hub: Wink (ha!)
  8. …?

Similar to Github pull requests:

I’m not sure if this could be sorted/filtered by a specific “tag” but that would be amazing. Also not sure if you could map keywords in the post to tags, like:

Hub: Home Assistant == Home Assistant, HA, Hass.io, Hassio, etc.
Hub: Smartthings == Down, Crash, Sucks, Support, Trash, etc. (<-- my opinion alone)

7 posts were split to a new topic: Home Assistant Dashboard Discussion

I dont have a suggestion really more of just an overall comment in that its so difficult to setup an organized forum in smart homes because of the different hubs. And sometimes the issue is a inovelli side issue, other times its a hub issue. People posting in the (wrong) more trafficked sub-forum because they want more exposure to their issue (im guilty of this sometimes lol). Basically what I’m saying is, good luck! :grin:

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I think you’re probably right. Parent, and then tag only within the parent. Stackexchange/github do a pretty good job of this. Stackexchange also has related comments/questions on the side and then ranks them according to relevance score. I’m actually thinking of a way to organized a lot of the info thats out there right now for a few hubs, sort it, and create a more robust wiki for it.

@kreene1987 and @piratesgoarrrrr – I’ve started to make some progress here, but I’ve run into some challenges from a UI perspective so I’m going to have to outsource part of this project.

I created (and will be working on the overall structure this week) a, “test” category here: https://community.inovelli.com/c/switches

Essentially, you’d click on the, “Switches” category on the main page (https://community.inovelli.com) and it would take you to that category page.

From here, you can choose from a few categories. I decided to break it out in the following ways – hopefully we’re tracking:

  • General Discussion (troubleshooting, other general topics)
  • Wiring Discussion
  • Firmware
  • Wiki/How-To’s

I think wiring should be split from the general discussion as it’s often very different than normal troubleshooting which is more than often hub related.

Firmware will be what we put out (beta and/or production versions) that can be commented on (bugs/enhancements, etc).

Finally, I didn’t realize this was a feature, but Discourse has a Wiki option (thanks @piratesgoarrrrr – I saw you mention Wiki and didn’t realize this was an option) and with a little tweaking, I was able to make it usable (stock option is kind of meh – plug-in made it awesome). An example, is located here: FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions - Community Guidelines - Legal Empowerment Network Community Discussions

I’d love your ideas for Wiki’s btw.


Tagging

Here’s where I’m running into issues. Currently, when you try to select a tag, it shows everything in abc order. Sure, you can limit the tags per category, but it still is just messy and I’m guessing the average person is not going to tag properly.

What I’m trying to see/build is something like a dynamic checklist where you select, “parent” tags (ie: hub or wiring type) and the relevant, “child” tags will show up (ie: ST, Hubitat, HA / 3-Way, 4-Way, etc).

Something like this:

Anyway, more to come – hopefully this isn’t too hard.

I am excited about the Wiki option where you all can edit (well, with proper permissions lol)

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I actually haven’t used discourse, but I’m looking into it and it looks interesting. I think the biggest thing with this is going to be trial and error. See which subs get the most traffic, check heat maps to see if users are even hovering over certain sub links, and your time on page. I’m normally a fan of structuring it even further (i.e. General/NodeRed, General/ShowOffs) but in this case I think it just may add more confusion.

Tagging: Is there anything that will autotag based on words found in the post? Or force the user to choose two or three tags (that could be autogenerated from the content).

I think I would probably work on this structure, and then start building out the wiki’s. Actually before the wiki’s I would make sure to clean up and organize all of the info pages on each of the products. For example, (this page) I would start looking at feedback from users on. I’d then go through and start finishing the content on the pages (like this one), updating this one to reflect the changes made in ozw 1.6 or at least indicate this is not needed any longer. From there, you can start pulling these into the wiki or any knowledge management software really. If the quality of tags you’re getting is low, you can always try and gamify it with some rewards system in order to improve submissions I know that has worked.

I like your tagging structure btw. Also happy to help however I can.

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Just wanted to give a quick update here as this project has really taken on a life of its own and we’re really excited about it and what it will do for not only the community but for people who haven’t even found us yet.

The, “Foundation” phase located up in the initial post is tracking well and @Donovan_Inovelli, @Brianna_Inovelli and I have been literally headphones in and locked into working on this. A lot of it is, “behind the scenes” stuff like keyword research, SEO optimization, forum cleaning/optimization (Wiki), and more. There likely will be little releases that compound overtime vs one major release. We’ll try to keep everyone in the loop as best as we can.


What I’m personally excited about are a couple of projects within Project Glow up that I think will really make things much easier for people and that is the Wiki development and Appsheet development.

These are things that were discovered recently and have really taken up a lot of my time and resources, but overall, they were pain-points that needed to be addressed.

As you know many knowledge-base articles become outdated quickly and leads to frustration as well as increased tickets. By developing a community driven wiki, we are able to utilize our greatest strength… you all. Everyone has their own specialty and can help out in their own way vs our small team having to learn everything and try to stay up to date on all platforms, changes, etc.

This is going to be a major undertaking and I’ll need a lot of help from you all to set this up properly :slight_smile:

The other pain-point we have is helping people understand what bulbs and/or fans work properly with our switches. Improper bulbs can lead to flickering issues, while improper fans can lead to damaged fans or switches, etc. It’s hard for us to test every single bulb and/or setup, so given the fact that we’ve sold a ton of switches, we should have a ton of data out there about what bulbs and/or fans work or don’t work.

To solve for this issue, we’ll be using a combination of MS Forms + Flows + MS Excel to create a living document (thanks @amdbuilder). Taking this a step further, we’re having someone use Appsheet to turn that data into a usable web-app to easily find what bulbs and/or fans work with our switches.

Good news here is that we’ll be piloting a scheduling system with our CS reps to where you’ll be able to schedule some time on their calendar to chat via phone if necessary. This is a step in the right direction of our goal to have full on live support.

The reason we’re able to do this is bc we’re hoping the wiki and other areas will cut down on ticketing.

@Brianna_Inovelli has successfully finished the initial email automation and will be starting the final email automations shortly.

I don’t want to talk about this right now lol.

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Glad I could help :slight_smile:

Taking advantage of Microsoft Bookings? :wink: