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In the end, one of the most rewarding things I have done during my time with the smart home. Some of my best achievements in this study were things such as the label changes where I suggested arrows and short instructions on the units themselves, and breaking up the labels to prompts better reading of the two sets of information on them. (pictured below, left side are the newer ones, right are the old)

Labels eventually ended up on the backs of these units in the last few installs, as we were pretty sure that people wouldn’t want to install sensors with brightly colored labels around their houses.

I learned that if we include a lot of information about why things are done or what hardware does, the manual becomes long and participants don’t find those parts interesting anyway so I cut a lot of the extra information and increased the number of people who read it all and didn’t just skim.

I also made a series of videos that helped out with some of the more difficult concepts such as “area sensors,” “hallway sensors,” and “door sensors.”

I made sure that we took on a color blind participant in order to get feedback on the color coded sensors, and found that out of the things I would have expected him to have problems, testing the door sensor was the thing he could not do. It blinked red to let him know that it worked, and he could not see the light.

Thank you Aaron Crandall for all of your help with this study including helping with technical problems, making some edits of the manual, and creating many of the images used in the text.


Leah Zulas, PhD