Designing the future of smart homes

We designed a complete product suite for Honeywell’s broad range of home automation devices. The Lyric platform gives consumers the full power and functionality of Honeywell technology in a friendly, user-focused context.

001. Brief

Invent a smart home system for Honeywell, including an entire suite of products, from thermostats to security systems.

002. Solution

We established the strategy and experience design for Honeywell’s platform across web, mobile, and embedded devices.

003. Outcome

The Lyric platform launched in 2014 to great reviews with the larger security system set for release in late 2016.

Lyric thermostat

Honeywell’s first product was a connected thermostat. Inspired by the iconic Honeywell Round, the thermostat was a smart Nest-competitor that included a companion mobile application.


The temperature control we designed took a modern and friendly approach, reflecting the physical form of the thermostat. Honeywell’s thermostat was the first of many devices, so we architected a platform that would scale intelligently as more products were added to the Lyric system.


We established a dual-weight icon system for use across Lyric’s software and devices. The team tested on reference hardware, adapting its icon set for a number of embedded devices and panels. The style was so well received, it became a global style for Honeywell’s entire product family.


We knew animations would be important to provide effective feedback within the mobile applications. Using native software, we prototyped a number of interactions on each target device. One primary interaction allowed users to quickly activate a smart action from their home screen.

Lyric connected home

Following Honeywell’s family of thermostats, we extended our designs to include the entire Lyric platform. This involved a deeper dive into Honeywell’s home automation products, including lights, cameras, and managed security systems.


Our team combed through hundreds of user stories and use cases to determine the broad roles each product played, how they interacted with each other, and the specific lifecycle of each component—from installation to replacement.


Each product family was designed with the ability to manage, automate, and troubleshoot devices. Designs were fine-tuned to the particular requirements of each set of hardware. For Honeywell’s security panels, designs were simplified and touch targets enlarged to accommodate different screen sizes, resolutions, and wall placement.
Smart actions


We also investigated how to intelligently automate devices. We strategized how best to introduce people to home automation, from those unfamiliar with the concept to expert users. Simple questions during installation allowed users to create routine actions, such as turning the temperature down before bed.


More custom environments can be achieved by grouping actions, such as closing the blinds, dimming the lights, and turning on a home entertainment system for movie night. We also added smart, predictive capabilites, so that if the system notices that you turn on a light around the same time every morning, it can suggest putting that on a schedule.
thirteen23 challenged norms without being challenging in their mission to deliver exemplary design.

Unifying Honeywell’s digital presence

Following our success with Lyric, we teamed up with Honeywell to define a global design language for all of Honeywell's software. An international corporation with a number of business verticals, Honeywell needed a well-documented design system to ensure consistency across its organization.

001. Brief

Create a global design language for Honeywell’s designers and engineers, providing a common reference point across the company.

002. Solution

We defined a detailed design language, establishing a shared set of principles and guidelines for Honeywell's software.

003. Outcome

Our new design system will serve as the foundation for all of Honeywell’s future digital work, including products and software.

Breadth of work

The design language system touched every part of Honeywell’s digital product space. This divergent content included animation, data visualization, navigation, e-commerce, search, typography, layouts, mapping, and more. With an emphasis on accessibility, we ensured usability for Honeywell’s entire customer base across many business units.


The set of modules we created was based on reference points and needs from Honeywell. We included variants that could be used in new contexts, and general plans around when to use which type. For example: a set of small cards allows users to monitor static devices, while a feed structure suggests frequent updates.


We used a proportional system to design flexible typography styles for Honeywell. Sizing everything in proportion to the body text helped us set a foundation that could be easily modified for any digital device Honeywell products live on: from wall-sized touch panels to a tiny smart watch.


To help express Honeywell’s brand voice and reinforce control behaviors, we created UI animation guidelines. After documenting the principles of animation, we illustrated examples of them in use throughout the software.


In each area we focused on principles to afford flexibility within the system. The principles of layout, hierarchy, proportion, and the use of color all provide a starting point while empowering Honeywell's designers to expand on the language in the future.
Throughout our engagement, I felt like thirteen23 was part of our team — working in lock step with us, facing challenges and deadlines together, and presenting to senior leadership.