User research in Health-Lab

How do you involve older people in the design of a Smart House? This is one of the questions Phillemonne Jaasma tried to answer during her internship at Waag.

Health-Lab is a project with several partners to investigate and stimulate the use of ICT in health care. Within the Health-Lab project, I conducted a small user study with four residents of the care home Flesseman (Amsta). The aim of this study was to evaluate ICT concepts, with emphasis on needs of older people and their motivation to accept such a system. This could provide insight into ways to express their needs and encourage the development of innovative care.

I have used different methods in the sessions, such scenarios, thinking aloud, probing and co-creation. The results of my research I have used in a report: 'Smart Living', but also in a playful way: Smart Homes. For each participant, I designed a personal Smart House, with technological and non-technological implementations. These implementations are integrated as puzzle pieces in the houses. On the back of each piece you will find the motivation behind its presence. 
There are also blank puzzle pieces. These can be used to create homes on the basis of needs such as safety, social involvement and independence, thus becoming a tool for a discussion about Smart Living. This tool can be used in sessions with older people, carers and family, but can also make a tangible handout for those involved and interested in the concept.