Kasita & Frontside
Unifying Connected Devices Under A Single Platform
In the US, the average size of a new single family home in 1978 was 1,780 square and by 2013 it had grown to 2,662 square feet by 2013; this trend of bigger houses was supported by growth in wealth and interest in material things.
The tiny house trend emerged as response to this growth, providing an alternative that focused more on affordability and simplicity in lifestyle.
Dr. Jeff Wilson, a.k.a. Professor Dumpster, found a way to inspire change in the housing market by redefining the tiny home movement to include an option that could reinvent the way people live. Dr. Wilson began his experiment by first living in a repurposed 33 square-foot dumpster to challenge conventional thinking of what a home can be. for a year by shrinking his footprint and developing a turnkey solution for the housing crisis. He discovered that Small, Smart and Affordable is doable for housing.
Check them out here: https://www.kasita.com/
Kasita has outsized functionality in an undersized footprint. From ceiling to floor, every last cubic inch is designed to maximize the home dweller's experience. The result: an exceptional small and smart home that contains everything you need and nothing you don't.
With over 30 connected smart devices, these beautifully designed tiny homes needed a single mobile control application for Android and iOS that matched the aesthetic and promise of Kasita itself.
Kasita, in partnership with The Frontside, worked through the design and UX and tasked The Frontside to build out the application and experience.
A key challenge for the project was to bring an MVP to market within 6 weeks.
Jason Jaynes, Head of Technology at Kasita, said the choice to go with Frontside became very clear after just a couple conversations. Timeline was one consideration, but technical expertise and fit was also at the top of the list.
“I was looking for a group of developers locally here in Austin who felt comfortable taking on a set of workflows and wireframes and producing an asset that they may not be maintaining for the long run.”
Kasita also had the challenge of a very tight timeline and a back end that wasn’t fully built.
With these challenges in mind, and given the time crunch and budgetary requirements, Frontside suggested a different mix of technology: a responsive web app written in Ember with the flexibility to be converted into an application written in React Native.
Most MVP launch dates come and go with nothing to show, but with Frontside working quickly yet thoughtfully, Kasita's initial mobile control application shipped on time and under budget.
Striking the proper balance between speed to market and the quality that enables long-term success is something Frontside never leaves to chance.
Designed for Usability
Although completing an app on-time and under budget is notable, the real proof of success is with the user, which is why we made sure that the application’s UX matched the UX of the home. Smart. Simple. Elegant.
We thought a lot about how to avoid the lag time with Temperature controls.
Frontside developer Jeffrey Cherewaty said, “Many interfaces for controlling Internet of Things devices either lack indicators that desired actions are taking place, or they completely block the user from doing anything else while the action takes place. So, Frontside developer Elrick Ryan designed a climate control screen that elegantly fixes both those problems - the temperature pulses when communication is happening between the HVAC system and the server, but the user can still perform other tasks while their changes apply.”
Elrick said “making sure that users do not feel lost and uninformed while using an application is paramount. A combination of icons, colors, and animations can help give your user the feedback necessary to understand what is happening while using an application.”
Kasita is a smart home and has several smart devices throughout the home that the user can manipulate. Rather than having the user click in multiple places to make the desired adjustments, Kasita decided to offer Moods, which allow a Kasita user to save individual settings for each device in the home and activate them all simultaneously with a click of a Mood.
While taking the idea of Moods and staying focused on simplicity of the user experience, we got creative with the Moods and pulled inspiration from a concept that many users would be familiar with, a “playlist”, in creating the design. Do you have a “workout” playlist somewhere? Using concepts that users can relate to makes new users of an application feel right at home or in industry speak makes the application have an intuitive user interface.
The Kasita application required constant consideration, critical thinking, and imagination to build from the perspective of someone living in and controlling a smart and interactive home.
When's your move-in date?
To keep up with the latest details on Kasita homes, check out Kasita in the News.