Easy to download and set up
Yes
Assistive technology compatible
Yes
Ability to customise
Yes
Good visual features
Yes
Easy to operate
Yes
Responsive
Yes
Easy to understand
Yes

Our overall accessibility score:  4.4/5

What can it control? Hive’s thermostat and radiator valves, hot water, lighting, sensors and plugs.

How can it be controlled? Via an Android or Apple device or web browser.

What are the download requirements? The app is free to download via the Apple store on iPhone, iPod touch and iPad (iOS version 10.0 or later) and Apple Watch (iOS version 4.0 or later) and the Google Play store on Android phones and tablets (version 5.0 or later).

Money-saving features:

  • Multi-zone heating control (*only with smart radiator valves): Yes
  • Boost function: Yes
  • Program modes: Yes
  • Temperature reports: No
  • Geolocation: Yes
  • Optimisation: No
  • Weather forecasts: No
  • Weather responsive: No
  • Open-window detection (*only with the Hive door or motion sensor): Yes

Ease-of-use features

1. Easy download and set-up

  • The download and set-up is straightforward and intuitive as it involves minimal steps and provides clear instructions throughout the whole process.
  • You are asked to pair your products with the app by entering a 6-digit code (labelled on the product) rather than a longer series of numbers.

      Score: 4/5

2. Assistive technology compatible

  • The app works well with Apple’s VoiceOver screenreader and accurately reads the labelling of all features in the correct order.
  • The app works reasonably well with Android’s TalkBack screenreader. However, it can fail to accurately read the labelling of certain features (e.g. when you adjust the temperature)
  • The app can be voice-controlled using Siri on Apple devices (iOS version 12 or later) and Google assistant on Android devices (version 5.0 or later).

      Score: 4/5

3. Ability to customise

  • Unlike other smart home apps, it allows you to adjust its text size in its settings.
  • The home screen can display up to 7 installed products (e.g. thermostat, TRV’s, lightbulbs). You can choose whether these products are displayed as circles or as a list.
  • You can create one-tap shortcuts to the actions you use most (e.g. turning on/off the heating, boosting) in ‘quick actions’ which will then appear on the app’s home screen.

      Score: 5/5

4. Good visual features          

  • The app’s interface is minimal and all features and information are visible on the screen without you needing to scroll down.
  • Features are clearly labelled with black text on a white and light grey background.
  • Room and target temperatures are displayed in a medium white font on an orange background.

      Score: 4/5

5. Easy to operate

  • The app requires minimal swipes to get from one page to the next and the back button is placed on the top-left hand side of the app’s screen making it easier to navigate.
  • There is good spacing between features to easily target them by touch.
  • Simple up and down swiping gestures are required to adjust the temperature in half degree increments.
  • Start and end times and temperatures for heating schedules, holiday mode and boost are selected via drop-down menus.

      Score: 5/5

6. Responsive

  • An orange flame icon appears to inform users when heating is in progress.
  • The colour of the circle surrounding the room and target temperatures changes as the temperature is adjusted (blue/green for lower and orange/red for higher temperatures).
  • The app informs you when it last performed an action in ‘last updated’ on the top of the screen.
  • The app will alert you when there is an issue with your heating or hot water.

      Score: 5/5

7.  Easy to understand

  • The app’s features and icons are clearly displayed and most are labelled with text making it easier to recognise and understand what they do.
  • The change of colour when temperatures are adjusted acts as a helpful visual cue for users.

      Score: 4/5

Is there anything I should watch out for?

  • Subtitles under some features explaining their function are displayed in small text.
  • Android's Talkback screenreader works less efficiently with the app than Apple’s VoiceOver equivalent. For example, when you adjust the temperature more than once it will announce the temperature change in percentages rather than in degrees (as displayed on the screen).
  • Unlike the iOS app, the Android app requires you to select start and end times for holiday mode via a calendar rather than a drop-down menu - which can cause confusion for Talkback screenreader users.
  • Actions such as turning the heating on or off, asking what the temperature is and setting temperatures can be performed using Siri's voice assistant on Apple devices. However, to perform other useful commands such as ‘boost’ you need to make this a quick action in the ‘actions’ section of the app and then ‘Add to Siri’ to record a convenient word or phrase to trigger that action.

Who might this app be good for?

  • The app's minimal user-interface and good compatibility with Apple's VoiceOver and Android's Talkback screeenreader make it accessible for blind users.
  • The app's clearly labelled features, good colour contrasting between the text and background and ability to adjust the text size make it an ideal app for those with visual impairments.
  • The app's simple design and easily understood features make it accessible for people with cognitive or memory impairments.
  • Simple gestures are required to operate the app and there is good spacing between features, making it easy to use for those with dexterity impairments.

To find out more about the Hive app:

https://www.hivehome.com/hive-app

This app was user-tested by RiDC's researchers and members of our consumer panel in November 2020. Individual scores of ease-of-use features represent an indicative interpretation by RiDC of the feedback received from members of our consumer panel rather than scoring by consumer panel members themselves.