The Development of a sensor-based System for older People: A Case Study

Jean Denise Hallewell Haslwanter, Geraldine Fitzpatrick

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingsConference contribution

9 Citations (Scopus)


An aging population is creating increasing pressures on health care systems. Assistive technolo-gies including telecare monitoring applications installed in the home are being promoted as part of the solution. These systems differ from other more interactive systems both in using sensor-based technologies and having older users, aspects that can affect the way the user is viewed, which in turn can affect what is prioritised in design decisions. However little is known to date about the processes involved in designing such systems, especially from the perspective of how 'users' are considered. To explore this we studied a development project in telecare with a focus on how the user discourse evolved. Using qualitative methods and thematic analysis, we identified two broad themes about how ‘users’ are considered: the disappearing older user, where the discussion moved from rich pictures of older people’s lives to sense-able scenarios; and the privileged devel-oper, where representations of older relatives were mediated by the developers' stories of their own relatives, inadvertently prioritising their own needs as carers for those relatives. The findings demonstrate some of the challenges for a user-centred design process that can occur when work-ing with sensor-based systems and older people that could have implications for whether these systems will be accepted.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHCI 2013 - The Internet of Things
PublisherBritish Computer Society
Publication statusPublished - 2013
EventHCI 2013 - Brunel University, London, United Kingdom
Duration: 9 Sept 201313 Sept 2013


ConferenceHCI 2013
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CityBrunel University, London
Internet address


  • Older people
  • Sensor-based systems
  • Telecare
  • User discourse
  • User-centred design


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