Shower Control Interface Design Process Blog

Our goal

applying the OXO brand’s philosophy, universal design, to deliver well-designed, comfortable and easy to use shower control interface for a high end, multi-feature valve and temperature control, with the consideration of the visibility and dexterity challenges.

Design Overview: Setting Goals → research on existing products → sketches → model prototype → usability testing → analysis

Research on Existing Products

Problems to pay attention to

  • change temperature and water volumes simultaneously which fail to satisfy the needs of changing the two variables separately
  • miss indicators of changing water volumes
Research on existing products

Things for considerations

  • a clear indication of how to change temperature and water volumes
  • fewer steps and make it intuitive
  • know the temperature before testing it
  • soapy hands → probably design with things to grab with?
  • steamy shower & absence of corrective lens → numbers in the digital screen could be more bold and clearer

Some design norms

  • using pulling and pressing to change the water flow
  • turning round/revolve to change the temperature


Model Prototype

My design of the shower control interface consists of one digital screen, a physical handle, and a physical slider.

The digital screen displays the temperature of the water at the center, water volume at the top and indication of valves at the bottom. When the users are changing the settings such as water flow volume, its values will be shown in the center of the screen. Users can turn over handle to change the temperature as the indications of red and blue showing the temperature of the water. To change the water flow volumes, users could pull up and press down to adjust to their preferred water flow volumes. The slider at the right of the panel of shower control is used to change the water valves including shower head, handheld wand, and tub spout.

Design Rationale

The chosen material

  • Most of the design is made by clay except the digital screen which is made by paper.
  • the aim of choosing clay is to mimic the weight of the shower control interface and the white/ivory color of the clay represents a sense of hygiene which is essential in the bathroom

Handle design

  • Dexterity|The handle is designed with the grooves which are used to prevent soapy and slippery hands. The design of the action of pressing and pulling up the handle is followed by the traditional use of water faucet.
  • Visibility|The digital screen will show the precise temperature at default and changing values in the middle of the screen with the biggest size for users to get the most important information at ease. Bright color indicators of temperature besides the screen at the top of the panel are designed with the consideration of the absence of corrective lenses.
  • Accessibility| For the first time user, there will be instructions on the screen.

Usability Testing

Testing tasks:

  1. use a shower head at a temperature of 78 Fahrenheit with a water volume of 40%
  2. fill in the tub using tub spout at a temperature of 100 Fahrenheit with a water volume of 100%
video of usability testing of shower control interface


What works well

  • The indicators of temperature and shower valves seem pretty intuitive to users that users can use it without hesitation
  • Turning around the handle to change the temperature is a convenient and effective way to change the temperature drastically
  • Pressing and pulling up the handle to change the water valves is easy to use
  • The shape of the handle helps users to grab on and take actions

What needs improvement

  • For the first time users, the instructions on the digital screen seems a bit too small with too many words
  • Pulling and pressing down the handle probably won’t be very intuitive for the first time users
  • The precise number on the digital screen is still hard for users to see without corrective lens


The shower control interface could effectively complete the three tasks of changing water volumes, temperature and shower valves. However, for the first time users, probably providing them with a clear instruction manual would be more helpful for them to understand how to use the shower control. The location and the size of the digital screen would need to be reconsidered for accessibility purposes. Voice assistant would be another option to solve the problem.



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