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Shaping the Future of Health-Smart Homes: Prolonging Independent Living 
for the Elderly

Type of project: Solo project

Duration: 13 months

My role: Led, designed, and conducted the end to end of the project

Project Brief

There is an increasing demand for alternatives to traditional caregiving and healthcare facilities due to an aging population and a shortage of caregivers. Health Smart Homes (HSHs) have emerged as a promising solution, but the design process faces several challenges, including a lack of older adults' desire to live in them, a lack of understanding of their needs and challenges in them, and a lack of constructive collaboration between designers and researchers. 

The goal of this project was to understand the needs of Baby Boomers for living in a Health Smart Home (HSH) and improve their quality of life through co-design approaches.


I utilized participatory research methods, co-design, contextual interviewes, a service design approach, and design thinking processes for this project.


The process was iterative and consisted of four main stages: Discover, Define, Develop, and Deliver.

Discover stage

I explored the current scenario of Aging in Place, health-smart technologies, and problems and barriers related to Home Smart Homes (HSHs). This stage involved:

  • conducting informal interviews with experts to understand their challenges

  • conducting focused interviews with experts on the topic

  • conducting contextual interviews with Baby Boomers (which included visiting their home setting)

  • gathering homework completed by participants

  • visiting two HSH labs

  • conducting a co-design workshop with Baby Boomers


Define stage

The raw data was analyzed by thematic analysis and organized into key categories. 


Develop stage

This stage involved:

  • developing a User Profile was developed

  • developing a Value Map was created


Deliver stage

I developed two sets of design recommendations for HSHs researchers and designers.



Documented the perceptions, interests, needs, challenges, and satisfaction of Baby Boomers with regard to future living scenarios.

The findings and recommendations can be used to inform the design of future HSHs that are more effective, appealing, and helpful for future older adults.

The findings and recommendations were handed over to the Smart Condo researchers at UofA as well as presented at "Design for Good" for the public audience.

Read the whole results here.

Toolbox Visualization - Key Techniques Utilized Across All Stages of this Study

Modified Version of the Design Thinking Model for This Study 

Generative Techniques - Applying the Say-Do-Make Framework in this Research

Visual Journey of the data collection and analysis - Preparation of Homework Activities, Completed Homework, Co-design Session, Designed Future Home Examples, and Data Analysis

Value Proposition Canvas - User Profile to Understand User Desires and Expectations

Value Proposition Canvas - Value Map for Representing Key Values in Home Smart Homes

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