Inhabiting Interconnected Spaces: How Users Shape and Appropriate Their Smart Home Ecosystems

Wozniak, Mikołaj P. and Vöge, Sarah and Krüger, Ronja and Müller, Heiko and Koelle, Marion and Boll, Susanne
Proceedings of the 2023 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Over the last decade, smart home technology (SHT) has become an integral part of modern households. As a result, smart home ecosystems blend with daily social life, appropriated and integrated into personalised domestic environments. The lived experience of inhabiting smart home ecosystems, however, is not yet understood, resulting in a mismatch between ecosystem design and inhabitants’ needs. Drawing on contextual inquiry methods, we conducted an explorative interview study (N=20) with SHT users in their homes. Our thematic analysis reveals how users shape their smart home ecosystems (SHEs), considering social relationships at home, perceived ownership of SHTs, and expected key benefits. Notably, our analysis shows that household members consciously choose ‘their’ level of SHT interconnectedness, reflecting social, spatial and functional affinities between systems. Following our findings, we formulate five implications for designing future SHTs. Our work contributes insights on the dynamics and appropriation of smart home ecosystems by their inhabitants.
Association for Computing Machinery
CHI '23