Thinking it Through – Nest Smoke Alarm Fail

The company Nest, recently acquired by Google for the usual billions, makes smart thermostats and smoke detectors. Unfortunately, they did not think through the user experience of their Nest smoke and CO detector.

In principle, it’s great that you can turn off your smoke detector by waving your hand at it – like in “oh, cut it out, I just overcooked my microwave popcorn a bit.”

Less great is that if people experience an actual fire, they are likely to be also waving their hands around. Ouch.

Nest has issued a Consumer Safety Notice and have turned off the hand-waving feature in all internet-connected devices.

Creating a good user experience is hard – you need specialized skills and proper testing with actual users. Do you think your user experience all the way through?