Smart Home is the next step in how technology is entering our lives – and it wants to address everything and everyone. However, user still have doubts, and a remarkable reservation. Before they start thinking about Smart Home solutions for their homes, they have to clarify what smartness means for them personally. Current Smart Home websites provide complicated explanations and deficient information. They cannot respond adequately to the users’ questions:
The question of added values is one of the key questions that should be answered by providers.
A digital showroom (www.was-ist-smarthome.de) that informs Smart Home novices and prospective buyers in different ways (video, interaction, informative texts and references to manufacturers and products). The platform’s unique feature is its provider-independency.
The information on the website is not from a specific company to a potential buyer; its design is based on questions and requests from users for users. One of the most important aspects was to spread information and know-how about Smart Home in various media channels. By addressing the users directly, the website provides examples of a Smart Home. Thus, users who are already convinced about this technology can be inspired to new scenarios. The information platform consists of five elements:
In a qualitative study involving households from the Siegen Living Lab, interviews were conducted on usage, expectations and experiences in dealing with Smart Home products. Based on these insights, personas were created representing typical users of the Smart Home target group. Personas served as assistance in further design phases.
In a participatory design workshop with the households, the Smart Home structure was improved so that it could deal with issues more comprehensibly for end users and allow researchers to determine which topics and other information are required in the design of a successful information concept. Participants had to evaluate different existing information concepts. They read through information, browsed through the interactive showroom and watched a video. Furthermore, scenarios that were interesting and closely represented their daily lives were developed.
The results gained through the workshop showed that a mixture all of the information pathways is essential: A combination of video, interaction tools and text-based information is important. An additional focus lay on scenarios that represent real examples of daily routines in private households. In the digital showroom, these scenarios embody the user-to-user experience.