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Building through Design – How User Experience Design is Helping Facility Managers Work Smarter and More Efficiently



Often the first thing we do when we wake up in the morning is reach for our phone. We check on our latest notifications, perhaps logging onto Facebook while brushing our teeth with an electric toothbrush. Each time we unlock oursmartphone, turn on our electric toothbrush or even log onto Facebook, there’s a hard working designer behind the scenes who has designed the system or device to best interact with us and enhance our experience.


We recently sat down with Honeywell Building Solutions’ Hilary Palmen, director of experience design, to talk about design philosophies for better user experiences. She explained how Honeywell is implementing these philosophies to improve how facility managers can better manage their facilities.


What is “user experience” and why is it important?

User experience is how something actually works for the users. I use the acronym DUDE. Something must be Desirable before you get it, and then Usable once you get it, and most importantly it must be a Delightful Experience when using it. For example, if you want to adjust the set points in your building, you don’t want to spend 10 minutes finding the right set-point before you can adjust it and check standard set-points. The more we can automate tedious tasks, the more delightful the experience will be because users can better use their time.


What is HBS and broader Honeywell doing to improve the user experience for their customers?

Honeywell is committed to enhancing user experiences with the Honeywell User Experience or HUE. We have established design studios across the globe and have a staff with diverse backgrounds in design, visual design, interaction design, industrial design, among other backgrounds. Together we collaborate to design solutions that will have a big impact on our customers and users. 



How is HUE manifesting in HBS solutions?

One example of how HUE is influencing HBS solutions is the Honeywell Pulse App. The app enables facilities teams to choose which alarms they’d like to receive anywhere, anytime as messages on their mobile phone. They can coordinate with their team in the field for diagnosis and quick response, no need to be in front of a computer monitor. Many facilities staffs prefer to not be tied to a computer monitor, they like to be out getting things done.


What feedback have you heard from actual users of the new designs?

The HUE team often meetswith customers before products are ready for release to better understand what they really need or to watch them use prototype solutions. We use this time to learn more about what could be improved. Hearing their enthusiasm for a pre-release product is what most delights me. That’s why I get up in the morning, knowing that my job is to make someone-else’s job better.


How do you see HUE evolving in the future?

Our users are changing, their knowledge, attitudes and ways of working are changing, and you’ll see the HUE evolve to take into account their attitudes, expectations, skills and familiar tools. It’s not long since smartphones were rare expensive accessories but today they are a common personal device used by millions around the world. HUE will be part of predicting and effectively utilizing these types of changes in both human behaviors and technological developments.


Check out the video below to learn more about the Honeywell User Experience Design Studios.