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Graph Visualizations - Dissertation

Graph Visualizations - Dissertation


Elder care in the developing world is increasingly becoming an issue of too many patients for too few workers. Smart homes suggest a way to help keep older adults in their homes for longer while allowing caregivers to remotely observe their progress. In order for the smart home to be a useful tool for caregivers, such as nurses, physicians, and family, important data must be available and as easy to interpret as possible. Unfortunately, visualizations to date have been created by researchers for researchers and not for caregivers.

Professional caregivers have little time to read data while requiring high accuracy (Zulas, et al., 2012); therefore, this study aimed to create various modifications to the visualization of smart home data and determine which creates the least amount of reading errors and the fastest reaction times. There are a variety of ways in which a visualization of smart home data could be optimized (Tufte, 2001;Cleveland, 1985; Few, 2009), including those suggested from past research. This study suggests that for best retrieval of long term health data the visualizations should include multiple graphs telling the story of the data over time, utilization of bar graphs, and superimposing a trend-line over the data for fast and accurate data retrieval. These improvements will vastly improve the system by increasing the usability of the data for nursing staff and other helping professionals.

Keywords: Smart homes, elder care, graphical visualizations, quantitative data

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Leah Zulas, PhD