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Fuse gives your car a voice, connecting it with your world. Your car, your data, your way. We're throwing in data for KS backers!
Fuse gives your car a voice, connecting it with your world. Your car, your data, your way. We're throwing in data for KS backers!
386 backers pledged $79,024 to help bring this project to life.

Feedback Please: Fuse and Personal Clouds

Posted by Phil Windley (Creator)

One of the reasons to be excited about Fuse is that it has a different way of treating your data and the data about your car. Fuse stores that data in a personal cloud: an online place that you control. We follow principles of the Respect Trust Framework

This presents us with a design challenge. How do we properly represent the fact that the Fuse app isn't the same as the Fuse personal cloud and that for the Fuse app to work, you need to link it to your personal cloud--just like you sometimes link other apps on your phone to Dropbox. Other applications that use the Fuse API, will also ask you if they can link to your Fuse personal cloud. 

For the techies: I wrote about this style of application in a recent blog post: Fargo and Personal Cloud Application Architectures. The actual mechanism of the linking is via OAuth 2.0, so it really is just like linking an app on your phone to Dropbox. 

The problem is that people generally know what Dropbox is, whereas they probably don't understand the concept of a personal cloud. 

The specific UI challenge is that we want to properly represent that you're linking to your personal cloud, not logging in and out of the application. We think that's necessary for people to understand the power of personal clouds and the control it gives them over their own data. On the other hand, we don't want it to feel so unusual or clunky that people get confused about what's happening. 

I've put together an initial proposal and I'd like your feedback if you have any (click through for a larger image). Users would see this flow whenever the app is disconnected from their personal cloud. That would be the case when they first launch it, if the user logged out, and in other, rare, circumstances where the app doesn't know what cloud it's linked to.

Fuse Signup Process: Proposal 1
Fuse Signup Process: Proposal 1

The interaction proceeds left to right. Screen (2) follows the user clicking "Let's Go!" on screen (1). Screen (3) follows the sign in on (2). Screen (4) (or something like it) follows the user clicking on "Allow" on (3) if there are vehicles in the personal cloud. If not, the flow would lead to an "Add car" flow.  I'm not showing the "More info" page or the account creation page.  The "More info" page would talk more about the Fuse personal cloud and our policies around personal data

Some questions:

  • Does this represent the idea of personal clouds clearly without being confusing?
  • Does it feel comfortable? 
  • Is the wording of the text clear?
  • Does the word "link" convey the right idea or would another word work better?

I'm interested in your thoughts on these questions and other ideas you might have. 

Daniel B Gordon, Tieg Zaharia, and 5 more people like this update.


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    1. Rebecca R

      I personally associate more with the word "connect" rather than "link", but both are used interchangeably around the web. For example, Facebook says "link" to your twitter account, while twitter says "connect" to your Facebook account.

      I also think that "Let's Get Started" seems like you're creating an account and it would be clearer to have 2 buttons - one for connecting an existing account and one for creating one.

      I had a few other wording/design suggestions that I mocked up using your proposal here:

    2. Ken Kennedy on

      I like the general flow, Phil. It's true that this handful of screens may not enlighten people on the entire idea of "Personal Clouds", but it looks to be something that folks should be able to successfully use.

    3. Steven Nay on

      Your graphic on the first screen suggests the three components of the ecosystem: personal cloud, OBD-II device, and app. I would suggest using those visual symbols either directly or as part of the color scheme to suggest to the user which parts of the onboarding process pertain to which components. For example, make the "Fuse Personal Cloud" screens blue instead of orange, or include the cloud graphic in the header.

      The "More Info" page could also make use of these visuals. You often have effective diagrams on your blog to explain the abstract concepts of personal cloud architecture. This would be a good place for one of those.

    4. Missing avatar

      Brant Avondet on

      Phil, appreciate the chance to provide feedback. Certainly not an expert, so take my feedback for what it's worth.

      I'm not sure most users will need the added information on personal clouds. There will be a small subset of those using and purchasing that will appreciate the concept, but my sense is that as adoption increases the majority of those using the fuse connected car app will just be interested in getting cool data/visuals about their car and trips.

      With that concept in mind, Screen 1 could be shortened to:

      Get started by linking this app to your Fuse Personal Cloud. Don’t worry, if you don’t have one yet, you can create one.

      Then you might consider hyperlinking 'Fuse Personal Cloud' to either the same page as your 'More Info' button or a more detailed one on what the benefits of the personal cloud to the end user are (privacy, other vehicles to track on the same app, ultimate control of your data, plus many cool future apps. You might also include info similar to what is on screen 3 as to what data this app has access to on the cloud and that it won't work without access to your personal cloud)

      Then on screen 2 after clicking let's go - It might make sense to have a slightly different color scheme or something to differentiate the two services/apps (Fuse Connected Car and the Fuse Personal Cloud) Not only would it separate out the concepts for the user and make it easier for them to understand the next time they connect to their Fuse Personal Cloud from a different app, but it also will make more sense to them when they hit the Allow screen.

    5. Trent Larson on

      It seems clear, though most people won't distinguish it from linking to Facebook, which is fine; the ability to see their personal cloud with and without this link may be helpful (in "more info" I suppose).

      One thing that would give even more warm fuzzies: in #3 after you say "will not function properly", you might say "You can come back and take this step any time." It's probably more work to allow them to turn on and off this access, but I know for me it's more comfortable to know I can change my settings later if I'm not entirely sure right now.

    6. Daniel Gerber on

      A user will successfully register.
      However, the user will not understand the concept of apps and personal clouds. A sketch with both propositions in different colors might be more useful. The best would be to have the personal cloud run under a different name or with another provider.

    7. Mark Dixon on

      The process seems comfortable to me. In the second paragraph on screen three, I would recommend changing "Fuse Connected Car" to "the Fuse Connected Car application." I think this may clear up a potential confusion about the app being able to manage multiple connected cars.