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Work > Goji Smartlock Design

The Goji smart lock started on a crowdfunding web site promising it’s customers an advanced deadbolt lock that could be remotely controlled and see who is at the door. They had a list of promised features and a slick product design, however the experience and app software design had not yet begun. The challenge was to take the marketing promises and convert them into a an experience that focused on their business goals of making a magical product with a high end feel. Among the primary features to solve for:

  • Remotely or automatically unlock door on arrival

  • Share access to others in household

  • Share access to others with restricted times or dates

  • Get alerts and see who is standing at the door

  • Allow owners to see a log of activity


Access to the Modern Lock

The goal was to make an app interface that was easy to manage. The challenge became that the traditional lock and key metaphor quickly became a burden and didn’t feel “smart” in prototype testing of early wireframes. For example: Would a user need to go to the lock tab or the key tab to perform certain actions.


A solution developed that combined “locks” and “keys” into a single tab. From this one location a user could see all the access they have across their own Goji’s or shared by others. New prototypes tested with early pre-orderers seemed to back this approach.

Business Goals Change​

Throughout the process of working on the project questions about revenue were floated around by the founders. Toward the end they settled on wanting to sell additional access to a lock once a user had given out 4 “included” access passes for a lock. This raised a new UX challenge to an already established flow. How do we convey this concept to a user? How might a user try to abuse this system? How might it fail?

Initial designs in a list view could be confusing.

Design evolution for the primary controls in the app. Larger controls seemed easier for users working with their phones with one hand.

Sharing Access

Early backers of the project told us that they wanted to share access with dog walkers, house keepers, and sitters but only on certain days and times. This became a challenge of how to communicate this for an owner when trying to share access within the app. Trying to keep the experience seamless between owning and having access to other’s Goji locks, the solution was to have subtle UI changes depending on the user types identified as “owner”, “admins”, and “guests”. Admins being a spouse or trusted member of a household that can share access to others. Working with the back-end server team was crucial to set this up correctly for the app UX.

Onboarding Challenges

With core concepts of operating and Access finalized, optimizing the onboarding process was the next challenge. The goal was to get users up and running as quickly as possible with the hardware. In this phase working with both the firmware and app teams was crucial.

Hardware Experience

The Goji lock incorporates several technologies including a dot matrix display, camera, proximity, and motion sensors. This allowed many opportunities to provide new and unique experiences for both someone visiting at the door or the lock owner themselves. For example the proximity sensor can detect someone standing there and take a photo and send to the owner’s phone. The lock's screen is able to let people know when the door is locked or unlocked and even give custom messages to make users feel even more welcome. My role here was to design behavior of the hardware and the animations and graphics for the display. This involved coordination with firmware, app teams, and server teams.

Virtual Smart Doorbell

With so much hardware to work with, the challenge became how and when to trigger the camera and to notify users of activity. I worked with the firmware teams to test situations with our hardware prototypes to fine tune the proximity sensors and camera to fire at the right times. Early testing revealed that without the right timing there could be false positives. While doing these tests we also tried to see if the Goji lock could determine if the door was ajar at any given moment. We weren’t able to get that scenario working reliably with the time to launch.

Installation Guides

The Goji lock hardware was designed to be installed by users after removing their existing hardware. I was tasked to take the existing hardware design and create instructions and illustrations on how to do this. The goal was to make a ten minute installation process. I tried to create instructions that could be both printed and included as part of the app. In the app there was an added benefit of allowing the instructions to be interactive. For example each step can show what part or tools necessary by tapping a button.



  • User research

  • Wireframes for mobile apps

  • Visual design for mobile apps

  • Full-fidelity app prototyping

  • User testing

  • Installation illustrations and instructions

  • Marketing materials

  • User experience for lock hardware

  • Icons and animation for dot matrix display

  • Font optimization for dot matrix display

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