Home truths: Insights for designing inclusive smart home technologies for healthcare

Alison Burrows, Rachael Gooberman-Hill, David Coyle

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)

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The pressing need to reform current forms of healthcare provision has contributed to a vision of the empowered patient who actively self-manages their health and wellbeing. It is widely held that technology will play a central role in achieving this goal, with smart home technologies presenting one promising solution. SPHERE is an interdisciplinary research project that aims to make a contribution to this field by developing a smart home system based on a common platform of non-medical/environmental sensors to address a variety of healthcare needs. Alongside the technical challenges of achieving an integrated multi-sensor platform, it is essential to consider the unique characteristics of the home environment and the variability of its dwellers. This paper describes the early user-centred design work conducted within SPHERE with a view to gaining a contextual understanding of people’s healthcare practices and their experiences with technology. The contexts of use were defined as the Self, the Home and the Community, to correspond with possible sensing technologies and solutions to be deployed within SPHERE. This exploratory study used a design ethnography approach, with techniques such as Technology Tours and Cultural Probes. The sample was based on households and comprised, among others, telecare users and households with prior experience of home sensors. Early findings from this study are discussed with a focus on contributing user requirements for meaningful and inclusive domestic healthcare technology.
Keywords: Home healthcare, sensing technolog
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDesign4Health 2015
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jul 2015
EventDesign4Health - Sheffield, United Kingdom
Duration: 13 Jul 201516 Jul 2015


Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom

Structured keywords

  • Digital Health


  • Home healthcare
  • sensing technology
  • inclusive design
  • ethnography
  • technology tour
  • cultural probes


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