Zone numbers & Disabled Zones


#1

Today I decided to WRITE each of my zone names on my Rachio outdoor mounting door in the nice space provided with a SHARPIE. I got to the end of my zone list of 8 zones, and I only had SEVEN spots filled in.
Why? Because I had disabled zone 7 b/c of a broken sprinker head.

Several things can be EASILY fixed to remedy this UI issue:

  • Put the ZONE NUMBERS on the My Yard section. I could ASSUME it’s L-R, next row, L-R, but why not put tiny grey numbers at the bottom of each block.

In order to get a for-sure in-order list, I go to the All Zones set watering time page.

  • Put the zone numbers in grey on this popup as well.

But here’s the kicker:
Why not SHOW the disabled zones in grey, or with a “X” icon of some sort in this popup list?
And, why ADD a silly link to “Show disabled zones”, when you could just INDICATE that zone was disabled (grey with icon), then make your link a convenience item of “Hide Disabled Zones”.
Besides, if I temporarily disable a zone, I’d really like to be reminded VISUALLY that I need to repair that sprinkler head.

And while I’m at it: Why can you not get to the Watering Time page directly from the Zone Details page?
Rather, than navigate BACK from Zone 4 Details, click the Watering icon, RE-SELECT zone 4… I could already be there with Zone 4 selected. (Yes, I know a milion people have already requested this.)

FYI, lawn people and sprinkler repair people don’t care about zone NAMES, only numbers. And. I’ve yet to have anyone install an app for me.

Date: 17-Feb-2017
Hopefully this will be included in a near-term future update.


#2

@iceblink, thanks for your feedback and ideas. It’s always a tough balance to design for different expectations. We always take user feedback into designs and feedback on the current version of the app was that users didn’t want to see a long list of disabled zones on the dashboard if they never plan to use them.

This is an interesting idea. Sounds like you’re looking more for a “pause” zone state and a reminder to fix it?

I think you’re hoping to access the schedule from the zone view, but perhaps you could clarify this request?

As a former lawn guy myself, I’d much rather know the zone name and location than a number. Maybe we need to help find you some lawn guys that aren’t afraid of technology :wink:


#3

On the disabled zone list: I’m curious what the use case of having many long-term disabled zones is.
Perhaps you have a section of your yard that doesn’t need water for the winter? Seems relatively rare.

I maintain that the 90% use case is a zone that is TEMPORARILY disabled due to mechanical problem, over watering, etc. For these cases, changing the UI to show disabled zones makes things better. And, changing the toggle to “Hide Disabled Zones” handles the 10% case as well. Still, disabled zones should be shown, WITH NUMBERS, on the black Set Watering Time screen, and numbers should be shown (unobtrusively) on the main page as well.

You’re correct: another way to fix the issue is a PAUSE. Paused zones would introduce a new state, which might create add’l confusion for users (what’s the difference between pause and disable?)
But, this might have some benefits for the folks who are accustomed to long-term disabling of zones.
Paused zones should show up grayed-out on the black Set Watering Times screen as well as the main page My Yard section.

Regarding my comment on directly accessing the Watering Time page:
Since many people are visual learners, the most likely place to start when you have a problem is the PICTORIAL represent of the zones under My Yard. Problem is, the functions available to you when you get to the Zone Details page, are exactly the kinds of things that you’ll set ONCE during setup, and only change rarely after setup. What would be more common? Click the zone, get the zone details page, and be able to quickly start/stop watering. This is exactly what my sprinkler guy did when I handed him my phone: clicked on the Zone 1 picture, got the Zone Details page, scrolled down, and asked me “Uh, what do I do now?” That’s b/c there is nothing he can do from this page. So, the easy fix: just add a Stop/Start Watering button that links to the Set Watering Times page, WITH the ZONE 1 already highlighted in the popup menu (to save time). But, one could spend a little more time and add a Watering status area at the top that would quickly let me turn on/off a zone when you doing the thing that is likely the most common: testing your zones. Can you do this from the Set Watering Times page? Absolutely, but why not make it easy to navigate for visual folks as well.

And, while you’re at it, why not add interesting non-static data about that zone on the Zone Details, like the last 5 times watering ran, etc.

On the zone numbers and lawn guys: sure, I’d love to have lawn guys that aren’t afraid of technology. But from what I’m hearing around here (5 neighbors with Rachio), 80% either have older “managers”, or they don’t speak English, or both. YMMV, we live in Dallas. :slight_smile: ZERO percent of my neighbors lawn maintenance guys installed the app. Perhaps this will change over time, but these guys have 20+ clients in my immediate neighborhood. My sprinkler guy actually handed me his ruggedized flip phone, and said he’d never change. :grin:

So, this means they use the controller box when something needs to be addressed.
And, what is on the controller box? NUMBERS with a blue LED around the Rachio logo.
So, when they yell across the yard to turn off a zone, are they going to say “East Front Garden Patch”, or “Zone 3”? It’s all numbers for them. And, since it’s so simple to add them to the My Yard section, Zone Details, and Set Watering Times page, why not add them? The main argument against adding them would be “clutter”, which is legit, but if done right, could be unobtrusive and useful. Oddly, there’s already some “chartjunk” on the the Watering page popup, in the way of the up-down gray arrows for re-ordering, a convenience feature which doesn’t seem overly useful for folks who have 8 zones.

Anyway, happy to chat about UI/UX issues with anyone at Rachio, or test software… something I’ve been doing for 25 years.


#4

In my case, my Rachio has 16 zones and I only use 10 of them. So that’s why I don’t want to see the long-term disabled zones all the time.


#5

Make sense. My assumption was that if I had 10 zones, and never setup 6 of them, those zones would never show up in any list. If that’s not the case, that sounds like another item to add to the Rachio punchlist. Alas, I bought an 8-zone unit for my 8-zone yard… tough to test that.

And, see my “Hide Disabled Zones” comment. If Rachio remembered that setting, that would handle your case as well, I think.