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Mobilizing the Original Mobile Hotspot

Digital product strategy. UX/UI design. Engineering.

MiFi Mobile Platform

Project Overview

Novatel Wireless, a leading provider of portable hotspots, approached SpiceFactory to create an application that would provide an integrated user experience around their MiFi product line.

The app needed to give NVTL customers access to information from their MiFi devices and provide the easiest way for them to control the devices from their smartphones. The goal was to create a mobile solution focused on their customers’ needs, while strengthening the MiFi brand.

People prefer to use MiFi over smartphone as a hotspot becuase it helps them save battery life, get high-speed internet, and use advanced WiFi features.

The Challenge

As an established company with a strong brand recognition, Novatel Wireless needed to address a couple of key challenges in order to remain competitive. They needed a solution that would get customers to choose MiFi devices over competing products.

Ease of use — over 20 MiFi devices available in several generations needed to be supported with similar functionalities while providing the same convenience and ease of use for the users.

Security — it was found that users almost never changed their default passwords which was a major security issue that needed to be resolved.

Design process

As a UX-led organization, we take great care to provide the best possible user experiences and we do this through a robust, iterative design process. Design was validated across multiple iterations. Each iteration emphasized a different look and feel e.g. retro or futuristic.

We’ve tested the app prototypes by assigning tasks to real users and then optimized the user flow based on the task completion data.

Software architecture

The apps were built for both iOS (in Swift) and Android (Java) platforms and were made compatible with all the different devices. In order to achieve this, we implemented an elaborate device discovery protocol and an extensible communication library abstracting away all the specifics and complexities of device APIs.

This approach delivered high quality solution which cut down further development and maintenance costs. UI code was completely clean of the underlying logic and the only concern was to react to received events as they occur.

The final solution

The end result is a hotspot manager application that works with all MiFi device generations giving users the same experience while hiding the complex web UI management.

The app successfully made the daily usage of portable hotspots an enjoyable experience for the users.

Rethinking mifi web ui for future mifi devices

MiFi is an enterprise grade portable hotspot featuring many advanced capabilities typically found in the high-end enterprise routers. However, these hotspots are used largely by the end consumers. They enjoy the global connectivity but do not appreciate the complex Web interface when trying to configure their hotspot.

We needed to solve the UI for the users and put the most used options front and center while hiding advanced options in the back. This allowed users to easily switch from regular user to power user and configure VPN, routing rules, and port forwarding, if needed.