Kin is the product of an eight month long MHCI Capstone Project with Bosch Ltd. With the recent momentum in sensor technology, Bosch wanted to improve on its ecosystem of products to support our daily rituals without sacrificing the user’s privacy. At the time, Bosch was developing a system that safeguards privacy within a smart home setting. They believe that users should never have to forgo privacy for the sake of convenience.

The capstone project entailed in-depth user centered research followed by low, mid and high fidelity designs ending with working prototypes. A lot of the information here has been kept confidential due to a signed NDA.



My Role

I was the Interaction Lead for our capstone team. Apart from focusing on and producing interaction flows and wireframes for our app, I participated actively in research sessions - facilitating as well as capturing notes. I played a major role in the inception of Cardigami, one of the research exercises we created. I was also responsible for user testing our designs and solely responsible for building the project website. 


The Opportunity


To validate Bosch’s conceptual model of user privacy and security in the smart home and design a corresponding user interface that home owners can use to control devices in their home.


"I want something I can physically see and control."


"I don't want technology to interfere with my relationships with people."


"I want an overall kill switch."


Kin - The Smarthome System

Kin is a proposed family-aware mobile system to integrate Bosch into smart homes. With Kin, users can create routines around smart devices, manage data, and share access with others, all while safeguarding users’ privacy.


Routine creation

With the help of Kin, users can create connections between their devices that can help them easily do their everyday routines.


Managing data and privacy

Users care a lot about privacy and security. Kin allows them to conveniently control data that flows in and out of their smart devices.


Sharing access

When users have visitors over, they can effortlessly share access to their devices with them through Kin’s intuitive interface.



Research Process

Throughout the spring semester, we conducted domain research to understand people’s mental models of privacy. Our main objective was to first test participants’ understanding of security and privacy around smart devices. We conducted research with participants ranging from college students to working professionals, parents, and elderly people. Some of the methods we used include interviews, business origami, card sorting and speed dating.


Understanding the market

At the beginning we wanted to familiarize ourselves with the domain of security and privacy. We did rounds of literature review and competitive analysis to help us inform our research.

We interviewed subject matter experts to know about their knowledge of the field and get relevant insights from their research methods that could help us plan our process.


Understanding the users

We interviewed seven users to get a better understanding of a person’s mental model of privacy around smart devices and how data is stored. After priming users in this domain, we then subtly introduced aspects of Bosch’s conceptual model of smart homes, UPA Platform, to gauge their reactions. Through a daily reconstruction activity, participants recalled events that happened in the past day to come up with examples of how this model could make their lives easier.

To gain insights about perceived utility and users’ willingness to share certain types of data across a spectrum of actors, we distributed two rounds of surveys, both of which received 80 responses each.

speed dating.jpg

Understanding the use cases

Cardigami is a mix of two design research methods: card sorting and business origami. We wanted to explore, in real-time, potential use cases of the conceptual model through user generated smart device groupings. Without biasing our participants, we wanted to prime them in the context and then provoke them to generate solutions that would use Bosch’s conceptual model.

Speed dating is a design method for rapidly exploring application concepts and their associated interactions. We conducted speed dating sessions with new families and parents to test social boundaries of security, privacy and monitoring within the home. 


Gathering Insights

After we finished our research we went on to data synthesis. We put together all our notes and created an Affinity Diagram. We walked the wall and gathered insights from our research. We used these insights to narrow down our project scope and define our next steps.




Once we had defined our project scope, we focused on what functionality we wanted the app to have. We started ideating concepts for the app.

Our design process started off with Lo-Fi paper prototypes. We then moved on to Mid-fi prototypes in Sketch, followed by a Hi-fidelity Invision prototype. We did multiple rounds of user testing for each iteration.


Paper Prototyping

We did various iterations of paper prototypes. We also created a user flow diagram to make sure we were capturing all the use cases.


User Enactment


User enactment allowed us to experience how participants might interact with smart home devices and the interface used to control privacy in a simulated home setting. We used what is called a "wizard-of-oz" technique to make it seem real. The user enactment sessions, coupled with usability tests, informed our design decisions in order to produce a high- fidelity prototype.


Design Evolution


Kin allows users to create routines that support tasks in their daily life. Here is an example of the evolution of Routine Creation within Kin from ideation to the final design along with the rationale behind the changes. All changes were inspired from user feedback.

Routine Evolution.jpg

The Team


From left to right: Jess Phoa, Nirman Bisla, Jeel Jasani, Eric Yi, Lisa Kim