Designing my own Home Automation UI

Ok, so now we have a Touch Screen in the living room. Time to design a UI that works. Not just for me, but for all of us. Where my first design was primarily based on using buttons with text to switch the lights, open the garage door or turn on the pump for the swimming pool, it didn’t feel right. It looked nice, but i just felt it wasn’t finished. Once you get used to using a touch screen, you start getting ideas to make things even better. So last weekend i tried a different approach by using a floor plan as background image and place buttons on it at the right spot:

Touch Screen UI

Touch Screen UI

So now i have a new screen layout that shows a floor plan with buttons for those things that are used the most. It also shows the current temperature in the different parts of the house and outside. By touching the stairs, you are taken to another screen that shows the second floor. And for specific functions like information about traffic, weather forecast, controlling music, TV, showing phonecall history and other things like that, i created a row of buttons at the bottom of the screen. This looks much better than the first design, which was just a bunch of buttons on an empty screen. But i don’t think this will be final; after using this new UI, new ideas will emerge and lead to yet another redesign.. and another… 🙂

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7 Responses to Designing my own Home Automation UI

  1. SNG says:

    which software do you have used to make this UI? and how you created your floorplan, nice looks!

    • admin says:

      Thanks for your compliments 🙂
      I’m using different tools/languages. For the website and the Touch Screen i’m using VS 2008. The UI is written in VB.NET, the website in ASP.NET. All ‘low level’ stuff like interfacing with X-10, PLCBUS, IRTrans, RFXCOM, databases, handling event processing etc. is done with an application i developed in Borland Delphi. I created the floor plans with http://www.floorplanner.com. From there i print to a PDF printer and convert it to PNG.
      The UI receives it’s updates by means of UDP broadcast and it can ‘talk back’ (for example to switch lights) by means of XMLRPC.

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  5. SC says:

    Hello,

    your UI looks awesome.

    I’m preparing to create a custom web based UI for my home automation system as well. I realize you posted this in 2009, but if you’re still using that Eee PC as a touch UI do you mind sharing pictures of the installation?
    I picked up 2 of these in black a few months ago at an irresistible price with the intention of flush mounting it in the wall. Yours look to be surface mounted, I’m hoping to get a better glimpse of that looks like.

    Thanks

    • Thanks. You’re right, my Eee Top is surface mounted. The wall to which it is mounted is about 8 cm thick. I removed the complete standard from the back of the Eee and saw there were 2 M3 holes; so I bought 2 x 10 cm M3 wire ends, drilled some holes (for the wire ends, Ethernet cable, power) and gently ‘pulled’ the Eee to the wall. I think I’ve got some pictures of it somewhere, I’ll mail them to you next weekend.

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