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Optimizing the added value and usability of the Smartest Home of the Netherlands

December 9th, 2011

Final USI project by Leoni van de Sande. Summary of the report: [PDF, 300K]. Complete report upon request.

2011-LeoniVanDeSande-OptimizingTheAddedValueAndUsability

Entrance screen

The aim of this industrial project at Smart Homes , the Dutch expertise centre on home automation and smart living, was twofold. On the one hand, the level of appreciation of existing (concepts of) smart home applications was examined. In this purpose, (concepts of) smart home applications were first collected through field research, literature, and European and national projects Smart Homes contributes to. Afterwards, the collected (concepts of) smart home applications were filtered based on the smart home classification by Aldrich and its appreciation was tested by means of a questionnaire. Based on the results of this questionnaire, the applications that were most appreciated were visualized. Ideally, these visualizations will be shown in the Smartest Home of the Netherlands, a test and demonstration home located in Eindhoven, to show visitors the added value of home automation (i.e. domotica).

On the other hand, the graphical user interface used to control the Smartest Home of the Netherlands was redesigned. First, the current user interface was evaluated by means of heuristic evaluations and the thinking aloud protocol. Next, the user interface was redesigned, based on the results obtained by the evaluations. Finally, this redesign was evaluated using an interactive PowerPoint prototype. In general, participants were quite positive about the redesign of the graphical user interface. They described the interface with quotes like “A serene and clearly structured interface”, “Clearly readable and easy to use”, and “Very efficient”. In the upcoming month, Smart Homes will implement this design in the Smartest Home of the Netherlands.

Besides examining the level of appreciation of (concepts of) smart home applications and redesigning the graphical user interface, a brainstorm session was organized to reconstruct the scenarios (i.e. scenes) implemented in the Smartest Home of the Netherlands and personas were created to visualize its possible inhabitants.

The results of this project will hopefully contribute to the optimization of the Smartest Home of the Netherlands.

L. van de Sande, Optimizing the added value and usability of the Smartest Home of the Netherlands, USI Final Report 978-90-444-1061-7, Department of Industrial Design, Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, 2011.
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