Big QuestionsOur work related to complex challenges.

The Challenge

Refine the design and interface of SimpliSafe’s security system to eliminate the frustrations of traditional home security and inspire a feeling of protection.


A revamped, user-centered experience and consistent design language across SimpliSafe’s suite of more than a dozen interconnected products.

Only 20 percent of American homes are protected by security systems, and most of these systems are installed after a break-in. Home security veteran SimpliSafe hoped to convince the other 80 percent of home-dwellers to invest in preventative technology so the break-in never happens. The company approached IDEO to refresh and simplify the look and feel of its connected products to reach this wider audience and help them feel safe.

Interviews with potential customers revealed insights that informed the new design. Families told the researchers that existing security systems are expensive, bulky, and hard to install and use. Instead, systems should be unobtrusive, but responsive to your needs. They should react appropriately in emergencies, while also protecting your privacy.

We think of design as a security feature, so we partnered with IDEO to make SimpliSafe something our customers would love interacting with every day. If people love using the system, they’ll be safer as a result.

Chad Laurans, Founder & CEO, SimpliSafe

The team developed a consistent design language across SimpliSafe’s physical products, user interface, and digital presence. That clear visual language lets you know what each component does right out of the box; for example, the glass break sensor looks like a human eardrum that might actually hear a window shattering. The design also reduced the size of entry sensors by four times, while improving their range and battery life. Tapered backs and swept-front surfaces for all of these sensors help them blend into your home. The new system’s clean, understated appearance instills confidence without stoking fear of what could happen.

SimpliSafe's home base acts as the brains of the connected security system. It offers gentle light and sound cues to remind you you're protected.

SimpliSafe’s keypad and base station guide you through setting up the system with voice feedback, while gentle LED lights and sound cues let you know at a glance that the system is armed correctly and you’re in safe hands. The system is also equipped with multiple layers of backup, so you don’t have to worry if the power or Internet goes down.

And the system responds intelligently, tailoring the way it reacts to match different scenarios. For instance, it sends a gentle reminder if a window is left open but a police response if a window is broken in. The design team also incorporated a first-of-its-kind privacy shutter on the system’s security camera so families can opt out of being recorded at home.

SimpliSafe launched its redesigned security system in early 2018, replacing the company’s two previous generations of products at the same price point. Already, the revamped system has cut the number of support calls from new customers.

In June 2018, venture fund and private equity firm Hellman & Friedman acquired SimpliSafe in a deal that valued the company at about $1 billion.

Hardware prototypes

All the SimpliSafe products interact seamlessly with one another and with a re-designed mobile app.

IDEO refined the design of 15 SimpliSafe components, including sensors, cameras, and a wall-mounted keypad.

Responding to those requests, IDEO overhauled the design and interaction of more than a dozen SimpliSafe products, including a wireless, touch-to-wake keypad; easy to install sensors; and a smart home base that acts as the brains of the system. Additionally, IDEO designed SimpliSafe's first step outside of the home—a video doorbell that can be used in tandem with the namesake home security system or on its own. Making the system enjoyable and intuitive to use means families are more likely to use it consistently—and correctly.

The video doorbell was intentionally designed so that the person approaching the door focuses on the button and not the camera—as the user gets closer to the doorbell, the light around the button subtly illuminates, prompting the user to "press here."

Consumer Goods and Services
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