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?
Connecting In with Out
We looked at how families interact within the kitchen and
placed the refrigerator at its center.
Thereby adjoining combining outside activities with
what’s needed inside, at home.
Imagine you’re out shopping for groceries, and although you did write out
a shopping list, you’re not sure if there are any eggs at home. Should you buy or not?
Or, think about a strip package of bacon that has been forgotten behind the jar of pickles.
It’ll be another two weeks before you realize it’s there…
These are everyday happenings when it comes to groceries and your fridge.
Family Hub connects the inside of your refrigerator with your outside daily life.
installed in the interior take a snapshot,
which is and automatically sent or
updated to your smart device.
No more worrying about eggs or if you have onions at
home or not. This is food care made simple and easy.
Touch and drag photos to keep a log of what you have
and how long you’ve had them for. Add food items you
need to your online shopping list app. And when you
checkout, synch and log the expiration date for each
item into the Family Hub system. Over time, you’ll
know where that strip of bacon is before it’s gone bad.
Connecting You with Recipes
Family Hub acts as a platform connecting you with
services you need when cooking at home.
* Recipes are available only in Korean models.
You’ve invited friends over for a housewarming party and you want to
cook something special; something you’ve never tried before.
Soon your flour and oil covered hands are scrolling through your smartphone in
desperation as the evening approaches. For new and unique recipes, or if you’re just
starting to cook on your own, Family Hub provides a wealth of resources at your
disposal – without having to mess up your phone.
the world’s top chefs and establishments.
Family Hub reads the recipe to you via text to speech
software, and hears short commands such as 'next' or
'previous'. Recipes are arranged into levels to match
your culinary skill as well as a search option to find
a dish to make with the ingredients you already have.
When you select a recipe Family Hub will tell you what
ingredients you have and what you need, even assisting
with online purchasing. Groceries, an app developed by
Samsung and Mastercard, lets you shop for groceries
directly from your refrigerator. **
** Available only in US models.
Connecting the Family
A digital platform not to disconnect the family,
but bring them closer together.
The entire family is rushing out the door.
Everyone is busy with their day and seldom meet together during the week.
Family Hub is the proverbial eye of the storm, gathering messages, photos, schedule
reminders from and for the entire family, and displaying them on the screen in real-time.
In short, Family Hub becomes the communication channel for a modern household.
with a brain.
Family Hub not only looks after everyone’s personal
schedules, but also those who are physically
apart – a child studying overseas for example.
Messages, photos and reminders are synchronized
over multiple smart devices with photos displayed
on the Family Hub main screen. Complete with
comments or emoticons for added fun.
Like a virtual family notice board, Family Hub
links everyone together and keeps them
connected throughout the day.