ASIS&T 2013 Annual Meeting 
Montréal, Québec, Canada | November 1-5, 2013

Design and Evaluation of Web Interfaces for Informal Care Providers in Senior Monitoring

Lu Xiao, University of Western Ontario
Xueheng Yan, University of Western Ontario
Alison Emery, University of Western Ontario

Sunday, 3:30pm


It has been recognized that most seniors prefer to age in place in familiar surroundings until their health makes this impossible. In an attempt to address the aging phenomenon, as well as recognize seniors’ preference, we worked with a Canada-based company that develops a sensor-based home monitoring system for people to monitor the home activities of independently living seniors. Our role was to develop web interfaces that present sensor data to the intended web users – the seniors’ informal care providers (e.g., their close friends or family members). In this paper, we present the information design and the web interface prototypes, and report the results of our formative evaluations through cognitive walkthrough and heuristic evaluation methods. The common problems discovered in both methods were problematic notification mechanism, inconsistency, background and layout. Each method also detected usability issues that the other did not. Our work adds another empirical evidence to the importance of combining evaluation methods in a study. The experiences in this study also helped us reflect on approaches and strategies when working with industry partners. Even under the time constraint, we should not underestimate the value of conducting the formative evaluation before presenting the design to the industry partner. To help the company make the right design selection decision, we should present not only design rationales and our preferences, but also results from the formative evaluation.