May 29, 2014

Product Review: Quirky + GE Aros Smart Window Air Conditioner

My house gets really hot in the Alabama heat. I have central AC controlled by a Nest Learning Thermostat. But the upstairs is decidedly hotter in this 1912 house despite new insulation in the attic. For a few months out of the year, the upstairs rooms need an extra boost to keep things comfy without freezing out the downstairs and making the power bill insane.

I had been using a fridgid air for a few years and decided to put that in a different room and "upgrade" to a tech savvy model: the Quirky + GE Aros Smart Window Air Conditioner. It's been an interesting change with a lot of pro's and con's. Let me lay it out for you:


  • syncs to your smart phone for easy-anywhere control.
  • the wink app knows when your gone and when your home because of your phone's location and will turn on or off the unit. amazing.
  • the wink app keeps track of your budget for running the unit to save you money and energy
  • the look of the unit is incredibly more beautiful than normal models
  • despite being not functional, the wings on the unit are pretty
  • the UI is simple and easy to use


  • the unit came with two detached parts that were not in the instruction assembly manual. put those on first before installing the unit. they hold the wings in place.
  • the wink app keeps logging me out and its a pain to have to enter your password from bed when you want to adjust the unit.
  • the unit blows air up out of the top instead of straight into the room. I have made a modification using a Baseboard Register Air Deflector that works pretty well.
  • they are pretty, but the wings on the unit are flimsy roller shades that do not seal well and let bugs in
  • the unit is louder than my fridgid air
  • the blue lights are very bright but seem to auto shut off after a bit

Annoying log in screen when I just want to turn the unit down

Insane Customer Service

I reached out to Quirky, they have excellent customer service. They are even mailing me more bug-proof wings to install on my machine after telling them about the issue. Quirky even offered to have me speak directly to an app developer/technician because my phone keeps logging out. I don't think I've had such a great same-day response with a product before.


I really think that the model needs some improvements, but this is expected of a first run product. Hopefully they'll improve the unit significantly on the next model. I am not sure if I am happy shelling out the amount of money that I did considering the con's, but I am keeping the unit anyway. Technology makes me happy.

disclosure: this post has amazon affiliate links in it. ;)

May 4, 2014

Link: Designing with Code

...stop thinking about content in terms of “pages” and to start thinking about it in terms of “packages.” A content package might contain things like long and short headlines, teasers, summaries, body copy, and pull quotes. Early HTML prototyping helps us decide which of these elements we need –and helps us think of them as pieces that combine across contexts to create a cohesive experience.

Read at: Designing with Code - UX Booth | UX Booth.

April 28, 2014

Link: The Ultimate Trends for UI Inspiration

Loving a few of the designs and thoughts in this article: The Ultimate Trends for UI Inspiration: Animated Concepts, Menus, SVG graphics and more.

Animated concepts are without a doubt one of the most useful tools during the design process which help to communicate motion and interaction.

July 23, 2013

Dark Patterns: The slippery slope

Love this writeup on Dark Patterns- "a user interface that uses manipulative techniques to get users to do things they would not otherwise have done." It goes through a lot of signups UX. "The thing about Dark Patterns is that you design them from the exact-same rulebooks that we use to enhance usability."

Read: The slippery slope | 90 Percent Of Everything.

Sara Cannon is a Design and Digital Strategy Consultant, UX/UI Designer, Creative Director, & Artist.
Have a project I could help you with? Contact me at

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