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Designing dependable digital domestic environments

HOIT 2003, The Networked Home of the Future Conference

Author: Dewsbury, G., Clarke, K. , Hughes, J. , Rouncefield, M., Sommerville, I.
Year: 2003
Type: Conference Paper


The aim of this paper is to examine the distinctions between home and organizational settings with particular reference to assistive technologies (AT) and outline a model for assessing dependability issues in these environments. For the purposes of this paper we consider assistive technologies to be software-controlled networks of assistive devices. Clearly a home is a personal concept and a social construction, which imbues different meanings to each individual through social actions and the assignment of meaning to those actions. It is therefore important that any method of investigation is sensitive to the changing meanings and nature of people’s conceptions of home. This paper outlines the fundamental concepts used by the Lancaster team and proposes a method of conceptualizing dependability within a home context. This paper suggests that the design of AT involves a number of factors that can be derived from a number of sources but essentially all design should place the user at the centre of the process. We aim to show that the home is different from the standard organization and as such deserves consideration in its own right and technology systems need to meet certain criteria within domestic situations that are not covered within traditional organizations. We extend this notion by considering the use of AT in terms of previous models of design and assessment. We also acknowledge that older people are not a homogenous category, and that designing for a group requires sensitivity to the individual needs of the person rather than the categorization of the person. We then consider the role of systems development and deployment from the perspective of designing AT systems for older people and this brings us to consider the problems that are associated with dependability. We contend that standard dependability analysis falls short of the full picture of analysis when applied todomestic settings.

Further Details

Publish Dates 6-8 April 2003
Pages 14
Publish Location Irvine, California
Publisher Departments of Computing and Sociology, Lancaster University, Lancaster, England, UK
Accession Number October, 2010
Place Published Lancaster
Keywords assistive device, design, housing

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