Designing for Buoy Labs, an award-winning smart home iOT for water.

Buoy Labs was acquired by Resideo in March 2019.

As the first in-house UX and visual designer at Buoy Labs (formerly Calliope Waterworks), I came on board when the hardware/software product was still in early beta. I collaborated with the team to do a complete review and iterative redesign of the user experience from end-to-end, including a rebrand to take the product into production.

This included:

  • Review and analysis of early beta version of app for UX/UI

  • Review and analysis of beta customer feedback of both the app and hardware device

  • Summary report of the findings to stakeholders

  • Roadmap planning with stakeholders to plan out and prioritize the UX and UI design changes

  • Working with product management to write user stories for development, with some features being broken into several planned iterations for continuous release

  • Creating mockups and prototyping app screens

  • Ongoing usability testing with beta customers

  • Ongoing competition research of hardware and software

As the product designer, sitting with our small team of developers and product manager so we could talk through system architecture, data, firmware, and app UX was invaluable, as were the kitchen conversations and being part of the daily scrums and weekly (or bi-weekly) sprints. Teamwork.

End to end customer experience design thinking

Working closely with the marketing and customer experience teams, the collaboration allowed us to have a single voice throughout our product, including: 

  • Buoy Home Water app – available on iTunes, Google Play, and in your web browser.

  • Buoy website with eCommence and help center

  • All print materials, including developing the first Installation (for plumbers) and Getting Started guide (for homeowners)

  • Buoy device packaging (functional design suggestions and design collaboration with contracted vendors)

  • Testimonials and installation videos (collaborating with contracted vendor)

  • Product photography

  • Presentation materials

  • Misc print design needs, including booth design, business cards, banners, and other promotional materials

With this approach of end-to-end design, I collaborated with internal and external stakeholders to gather feedback and iteratively improve the user experience throughout the product touch points. I met with Buoy customers, had daily discussions with the support team, kitchen chats with founders, sent out surveys to beta customers with open-ended questions to gain insights, observed device installations and first time app usage experiences, demonstrated the product and listened to potential customers at events, including CES 2018, the Consumer Electronics Show (where we received numerous awards).

CES 2018 booth design

Awards from 2017–2018:

  • 2018 Fast Company World Changing Ideas finalist – Consumer Products

  • 2018 CES Innovation Honoree – Smart Home Product

  • Popular Mechanics Best of CES 2018 – Editor’s Choice

  • GearBrain CES 2018 – Editor’s Choice

  • 2017 Edison Design Award, 2017 Fast Company’s Innovation by Design

Visual design samples


What’s your water personality? Buoy banner stand for CES 2018

Website design of product details page. Implemented in Squarespace with Shopify integration, and with login access for homeowners to the web version of the Buoy Smart Home app.


I had the pleasure of meeting and working with Sue at Buoy Labs. She is super talented and was instrumental in creating a category-defining home water management product. Buoy’s customer satisfaction scores where fantastic and we owe much of that success to Sue’s talent making the product simple to install and use. We had a successful exit at Buoy with Sue contributing significantly to our success. I would hire Sue again and it was a pleasure working with such a creative talent.
— Toby Corey, Board of Director @ Buoy Labs