How we designed a future-proof smart home interface for a consumer IoT startup

The latest chapter in our enduring partnership delivers an updated UI to meet emerging market demands and turn Pepper into a (smart) household name.

Pepper, a white label smart home platform, has steadily gained ground in the consumer IoT arena, but was bound by the number of devices and users it could support. As its trusted design partner for almost a decade, argodesign was well positioned to update Pepper OS and deliver a flexible platform that can support a wide range of solutions inside carefully defined guardrails. Through modular thinking, argo designed and built the platform to empower users to assemble the smart home controls in the way they want for endless possibilities. 

We don’t look at argodesign as an agency—we look at them as part of our team. Our relationship has set us up for the future of the connected home space.

Scott Ford

CEO, Pepper

One Control UI to rule them all

With the launch of the smart home standard Matter, the industry is on the precipice of rapid growth and innovation. To support the onrush of new devices and attract larger clients with more complex needs, Pepper had an opportunity to grow, and argo has been a flexible partner to support that growth.  

Delivering a true white label platform under a tight deadline required a scalable system and accompanying controls with staying power. argo began by enhancing the existing Pepper Smart Light UI; after establishing the large ring and center circle as the core control element, the team realized it could use this form factor across a range of UX needs. From there, argo plotted secondary controls and applied the modular system to 16+ devices, from lights and thermostats to air diffusers and pet feeders.

With the main interaction and device controls in place, argo updated the experience across other spaces of the app, including Home Tile interactions on the dashboard and a robust onboarding experience to help new users explore key functionalities.

More sophisticated smart home automations 

Unlike traditional task-based user flows, argo took an object-oriented approach to accommodate the wide range of journeys and actions a user might take. By thinking in terms of the individual functions as well as daily problems people might face, argo empowered Pepper users to create automation rules across multiple devices like locking the doors, turning on the pet feeder, and setting the thermostat to Eco mode when everyone has left the house.

This approach makes a home smarter with each added compatible device and is crucial when designing for infinite automations and integrations. The new design has a library of templates and uses a sentence-structure UI for easier and more versatile automations.

The future comes into view

In December 2022, Pepper acquired the smart home sensor company Notion to create a leading IoT and smart home platform for custom Insurtech solutions. The partnership is a giant step for Pepper as it advances into new markets and achieves major milestones.  

This is just the latest iteration of Pepper no one could’ve predicted when our partnership began. And with its newly designed smart home platform, it won’t be the last. 

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