We've got connection, Samsung family hub UX design story

The Heart of the Home is the Kitchen
The Heart of the Kitchen, the Refrigerator

"The place I like best in the world is the kitchen."

This is how Yoshimoto Banana’s seminal novel on reconciliation and family,
the Kitchen starts. While all of us may not all share the same views, it’s true that this is
the one place the entire family gathers and spends the most time together.
This is due, in part, to our need for sustenance.
The focal point of that need is undeniably the refrigerator.

Hands down the largest appliance in the home, it is always on, ever stalwart and unmoving.
Ready to provide the entire family with food and drink whenever they so desire.
This is our reason to rethink the refrigerator. Although the kitchen is frequented by the
family an average of 40 times a day, and arguably the fridge opened as often,

how can we improve on what is essentially
a storage space for food?

The solution was literally staring at us in the face – Albeit a blank one.
While we weren’t able to reduce or even alter the physical mass of the refrigerator,
we took a decidedly different approach of to seeing the doors as an interface for
the entire family. What once stood as empty space, occasionally riddled with
photos, memos or tourist magnets, could become a center point for the house.
A hub, if you will, for the entire family.

Four Insights for the
Family Hub Experience

To offer a different approach for the refrigerator we needed to observe and log the
patterns of each family member and how they interact with the appliance in
their own way. From such observations we took away four vital insights:

  • Time spent in the
    kitchen is short
    but frequent.
    User interaction as well as information
    access needs to be quick and easy.
  • A refrigerator is (probably)
    the largest and tallest
    appliance in the home.
    Controls should be easy and
  • A refrigerator is
    used quickly and
    at a glance.
    Information should be displayed
    clearly and simply.
  • A diverse range of interaction
    from a wide age group
    (adults, children, elderly etc.).
    Design usability should focus on
    all family members.
  • Connecting In with Out
  • Connecting You with Recipes
  • Connecting the Family

No Longer the Fridge You Know

The Family Hub has the potential to change the household
dynamic in new and positive ways. From a mere cold storage
appliance to the center for healthy eating, fun cooking and
bringing the family closer together. A focal point, a core or
hub for the family. This is no longer the refrigerator you knew.

In this Internet of Things age, the Family Hub is destined to be
the center of the smart home, expanding its connectivity
beyond the kitchen to devices and other applications both in
and outside the periphery we call home. This is not only a next
step evolution in kitchen appliances, but how we interact with
objects and products themselves. At Samsung Electronics
we’re on a journey to discover paradigm shifts not only in our
products but more importantly in the lives of our customers.
Where better to start than in the kitchen?

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