What we can learn from Nest

by Chris Vogel

The Nest learning thermostat is a really impressive product and its website is a great example for how to do things correctly on the web. I don’t really care for Nest’s homepage as it features too much current events and updates content for my taste but the thermostat page does a fabulous job of explaining the key benefits in a process-driven way.

Go to the Living With Nest page and take a look. The story is told in chronological fashion and takes the user through installation, setup and the thermostat learning process using the number of days as the driving unit. Unlike a lot of other companies that use happy stock people to support benefit descriptions, Nest uses the device itself to illustrate the process. This make sense, as it is absolutely gorgeous and its industrial design deserves to be celebrated.

Everything is geared to tell the story

While scrolling through the individual sections of the page, the subtle animations and the ever present day indicator elevate the continuous narrative. Most sites using modern methods of animation and scrolling effects tend to take it too far and end up distracting from the story they are trying to tell. Aesthetically, Nest supports its message through the use of generous clear space and limiting the amount of visual clutter to a minimum. Adding depth to the experience, the seamlessly-integrated video clips are well executed and play only when upon request.

Of course I have to nit-pick

The part that confuses me is the stock photo used for the “School’s Out” section. It doesn’t seem to match any of the other treatments. The kids are playing outside, a place at which a thermostat has no bearing. Also, the piggy bank illustration below seems out of place. I might be a stickler for details, but a site with as little elements as Nest needs to get every nuance right. The less there is the more stands out.

All in all Nest does a tremendous job at balancing messages with visuals and deserves recognition. If for anything, it should be used as a reference when looking at ways to limit amounts of information. Nest is a truly people friendly site.