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Design with care

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date2001
JournalNew Technology in the Human Services
Journal number1 & 2
Volume14
Number of pages9
Pages39-47
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This paper is primarily about design and some of the difficulties of 'appropriate' design in care settings: about the interaction between technologies, application domains, design methodologies and about some of the challenges of informing design. This is hardly a novel concern, but this particular focus arises as a consequence of digital technologies maturing and transferring to the everyday domain; as the convergence of interactive digital systems, networks and mobile devices potentially transforms the ways that we carry out mundane, everyday activities. In recent years, the increasing presence of computing technology in the domestic environment has emerged as an important new arena of study. Domestic environments are becoming key sites for the consumption of information and communication technologies - embracing, in the 'care' domain, various forms of 'assistive' technologies and the design and provision of 'smart' homes. This paper reports on a recently initiated research project 'Care in the Digital Community' - begun under the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Dependability Interdisciplinary Research Collaboration (DIRC) Network project EQUATOR. The project aims to use a multidisciplinary research team to facilitate the development of enabling technologies to assist care in the community for particular user groups with different support needs. The general objective is to examine how digital technology can be used to support sheltered housing residents and their staff. Although only recently started, the project anticipates exploring the affordances of a variety of technological configurations, including the use of virtual environments replicating real world situations, and the use of handheld and wearable digital technology to provide support.