Designing smart home controls for elderly
Technology is evolving by the day and with it the devices to control it. Sophisticated systems, like Smart Homes, are currently controlled in most cases via a smartphone app. While this may be acceptable for younger and middle-aged people, elders, however, have trouble keeping up with new devices and might not want to use a smartphone. Most modern-day control schemes like touch screens and menus are regarded as too complicated. However, Smart Homes provide many opportunities to reduce the every-day burden on elderly and people with special needs. Providing elderly people easy access to advanced and helpful technology via familiar interface types immensely improves their quality of life. We propose a Smart Home control designed especially for use by elderly. Our contribution ranges from evaluating existing systems to designing and building the Smart Home control for elderly based on their special requirements. Moreover, we involve elderly in the design process and evaluate the proposed prototype in a qualitative study with 10 elderly users. The results conclude that being presented with the scenario to already own the required Smart Home technology, the participants were quick to accept the cube as user friendlier when compared to smartphone controls or touchscreen controls in general.