In the month since I first posted about how I am using Home Assistant, I’ve made a number of improvements to my configuration. These changes were mostly focused around usability–removing clutter from the interface and simplifying the layout–without losing any functionality. Two changes in particular really simplified the default view, making our light groupings more manageable and less overwhelming.
First, I moved each lighting group’s scenes into a dropdown (“input select” in Home Assistant parlance), rather than listing the three to five choices below each set of lights. The impact was most dramatic on mobile, but on a larger screen, it’s also a lot easier to find the set of lights I want to control.
Second, for groups of lights, I introduced a slider that controls the brightness of all lights within the group. We physically have this in the form of Philips Hue dimmer switches, which made its absence from Home Assistant rather frustrating. The automations backing these sliders ensure that the slider is synchronized when lights are dimmed via the Hue switches, and synchronizes all lights in a group when an individual light’s brightness changes.
As the side-by-side comparison shows, the new layout (right) is a significant improvement over its previous incarnation (left).
Other changes I’ve made include:
- switching to MySQL for state and history storage, in place of sqlite3, which greatly improved Home Assistant’s performance;
- showing local weather data from Weather Underground;
- adding an automation that toggles a light to indicate whether or not Smart Home Monitor is armed;
- using automations to toggle nightlights that should only illuminate under very specific circumstances; and
- using Amazon Dash buttons to trigger scenes and automations.
As always, my Home Assistant configuration files are available at https://git.ethitter.com/open-source/Home-Assistant-Config.
Lastly, here’s a full set of updated screenshots of my setup: