May 05

Accessibility Performance For Smart Heating Apps Revealed

Matthew

A series of usability tests have been carried out by the Research Institute for Disabled Consumers (RiDC) on smart central heating control apps to find out which ones are the most accessible for disabled and older people.

The apps that underwent testing were Nest, Tado, Honeywell Total Connect Comfort, Netamo, Honeywell Home and Hive. Each one was assessed for characteristics like download, responsiveness and customisation.

They were also tested to see how they could save people energy and money, with features including program modes and open window detection.

Overall, it was found that the Hive app was the only one that performed well across all seven categories, with its clearly displayed features and minimal user interface making it easiest to use for most impairment groups.

CEO of the RiDC Gordon Mccullough said: “Smart-home technology is often championed as a way for disabled and older people to have greater independence at home, which is particularly true for the control of heating and energy use.

“What’s interesting here is the variation in how much the apps can be customised, which unfortunately means that customers may miss out on being able to use some of the features, including those that have the potential to save energy and money.”

A concurrent online survey also revealed that one in four disabled people find they have difficulties using apps in general, with 44 per cent going on to uninstall or stop using them as a result.

If you’re looking for more information on accessible apps in general, not just smart central heating ones, charity Scope has a useful online guide to the various ones available, everything from turning speech into text to finding accessible toilets.

 

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