Article in App of the Week category.

Hue’s New App is a ‘Light’ for Sore Eyes

Please don’t judge me for that pun-filled headline... I didn’t have a choice! Regardless, Hue’s app was due for an overhaul and that’s just what…

hue appPlease don’t judge me for that pun-filled headline... I didn’t have a choice! Regardless, Hue’s app was due for an overhaul and that’s just what it got with its recent 4.0 update. Aside from a wealth of new functionality, the app got a visual refresh as well. I’ve been using it for a few weeks now and have come to very much appreciate all the changes.

For the uninitiated, Philips Hue is a line of smart lights that are controlled from the accompany app and while smart lights aren’t for everyone, the app’s design is something to take note of. Signify — Philip Hue’s parent company — has learned very much from how users operate the app and it was brilliant to see how tasks that would require multiple steps, have been simplified and brought to the surface.

The home tab of the app is gorgeous, with a list of all the rooms in your house and all of the colored gradients representing the colors of all your home’s smart lights. The array of colors doesn’t just look beautiful, it is entirely unique to you.

hue app screens

Signify also brought in a ton of lighting scenes to the app that were designed by experts. Users can choose these scenes and the app will intelligently assign colors to the smart lights in their rooms. It is a very cool effect and in the new update Signify has brought even more scenes that all catch your eye. You even have the ability to upload your own photo — such as a sunset from your honeymoon — and it will pull out colors to paint your walls.

This isn’t the most “fun” aspect of the app, but Signify has also improved how users can create automation rules for their lights. Before it was a basic list but now there are more categories of automations, complete with descriptions and visuals. It is much less intimidating and helps the user understand what is possible. In terms of usability, the Hue app 4.0 wins two thumbs up.

Another outstanding interface within the app is when creating entertainment areas. These are areas in your home where you have lights synced to your TV. For the most immersive effect, light placement is crucial. With the new update, you can see a 3D visualization of your room and TV. You can place a light in 3D space and move them around — left, right, forward, back, as well as up and down. It’s incredible to interact with, especially when you notice the little touches. For example, as you move the lights around the interface, they change color based on their relation with the on-device TV screen. Your lights in your room react in real-time as well.

Seriously, I know not everyone has smart lights but Signify had several unique interface to develop and with version 4, they’ve done such a fantastic job. No other app has to deal with physical light placement in 3D space or how to assign colors based on user-uploaded pictures. Let alone with how this all interacts with the physical lights in your home. The way they’ve stepped up the UI is masterful, even if it took them several years to get here.

But enough about other people's apps.


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