Hozelock is an established manufacturer of hoses, fittings and water timers, long-cherished by gardeners.
It was not until recently a brand associated with connectivity, IoT and smartphone apps and yet it recognised these new technologies could help its customers to manage garden watering, especially when away from home. The development challenge was considerable and so Hozelock engaged PDD to help it explore how to achieve its goals with a high profile, mass-market product to lead its range.
Our initial investigation married Human-Centred Design (HCD) with Technology Scouting and Feasibility to explore and align what 'should be done' with what 'could be done'. HCD techniques explored the needs, wants and contexts of use to establish the features and interaction principles. The Technology study established practicality, cost/benefits, implications and the risks associated with connecting an ‘App’ all the way to the ‘Tap’.
Design and engineering work shaped the user experience, interaction look-and-feel and defined the App navigation whilst the technology stream wrestled with the logic of schedules and the integration of technologies as diverse as smartphone operating systems, web modelling languages, radio-protocols and embedded code on dedicated hardware. PDD managed the implementation working closely with Hozelock and App-coding company, ‘Tangent 90’, through to product launch in store and on the Apple and Google sites.
The Hozelock Cloud offers an efficient product for use on iOS and Android devices. Its launch was hailed with a flurry of publicity and awards from gardening and trade bodies. PDD is proud to have helped Hozelock to achieve its ambitions.
GLEE (Garden, Leisure and Entertainment Exhibition) New Product Gold Award 2015
RHS Chelsea Flower Show, Garden Product of the Year 2016
GIMA (Garden Industry Manufacturers Association) Product Award 2016
PDD has completed its planned transition to the latest version of this rigorous international quality assurance standard for medical devices, building on the success of earlier transitions and successful audits to the FDA 21CFR Part 820 in 2015.
In my career I have been lucky enough to gain varying perspectives on the role of usability during the development of medical devices. I’ve worked as part of a design team with a responsibility for concept generation, preliminary research and detailed design. I’ve also worked as part of a human factors team with a broader remit for integrating human factors process across an organisation. One thing experience has taught me is that there is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to usability work.