Independence is essential for everyone and crucial for people with disabilities. Being able to perform the activities of daily living as autonomously as possible is an important step towards real inclusion and an independent life. Several technology-enhanced services and tools have been created to address special-needs users, but are they really used and appreciated by them? Sensors and radio frequency devices are increasingly exploited to develop solutions such as the smart home, aimed at improving the quality of life for all, including people with visual impairment. This paper collects blind users' expectations and habits regarding home automation technology through an online survey and face-to-face interviews. Specifically, 42 visually impaired people answered an accessible online questionnaire to provide more insight into their needs and preferences. Next, semi-structured short interviews conducted with a set of eight totally blind participants enabled the collection of relevant user requirements in order to better understand the obstacles experienced, and to design usable home automation and remote control systems. Results showed that the main requests regard increasing autonomy in everyday tasks and having more usability and flexibility when using remote home automation control. Thanks to the collected feedback, a set of general suggestions for designers and developers of home automation and remote control systems has been proposed in order to enhance accessibility and usability for the blind user.

Home automation for an independent living: investigating needs of the visually impaired people

Leporini B
2018-01-01

Abstract

Independence is essential for everyone and crucial for people with disabilities. Being able to perform the activities of daily living as autonomously as possible is an important step towards real inclusion and an independent life. Several technology-enhanced services and tools have been created to address special-needs users, but are they really used and appreciated by them? Sensors and radio frequency devices are increasingly exploited to develop solutions such as the smart home, aimed at improving the quality of life for all, including people with visual impairment. This paper collects blind users' expectations and habits regarding home automation technology through an online survey and face-to-face interviews. Specifically, 42 visually impaired people answered an accessible online questionnaire to provide more insight into their needs and preferences. Next, semi-structured short interviews conducted with a set of eight totally blind participants enabled the collection of relevant user requirements in order to better understand the obstacles experienced, and to design usable home automation and remote control systems. Results showed that the main requests regard increasing autonomy in everyday tasks and having more usability and flexibility when using remote home automation control. Thanks to the collected feedback, a set of general suggestions for designers and developers of home automation and remote control systems has been proposed in order to enhance accessibility and usability for the blind user.
2018
978-1-4503-5651-0
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11568/1219202
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