INTeGER User Case Study

Exploring the Technological Needs of Single Parents in Child and Home Care Roles

You may have also noticed that technology design, specifically smart home design, has till date placed higher emphasis on designing new smart home devices with the traditional concept of families at heart. We have too! Single-parent families are hardly the target of smart home design or marketing tactics. Nevertheless, primarily single-parent families are families too and the workings of single parent households differ from multiple-parent households. Additionally, the number of single parent households is predicted to increase in the next years. This means that it is overdue that focus is brought to single parent households in research and that is what we intend to do.

On the other hand, we also want to understand how the gendered and socially constructed nature of childcare can and does influence parents' use of technology, specifically smart home technology. For example, single fathers are often found in “for mother conditioned environments” which can present challenges in their parenting roles: mobile apps such as “MamiKreisel” as the name suggests are conceived with mothers as primary clients, most diaper changing tables in Germany are found in female washrooms leaving room for improvisation or frustration.

We therefore seek through the INTeGER research project the following:

  • To understand the roles and everyday needs of single parents and find ways of innovation, translating the solutions to these challenges in the design of technological smart home artefacts;
  • To understand the gender and socially constructed nature of child and home care and its influence on the use of technology at home in meeting the needs of single parents.

The study will be conducted in two phases:

  1. This study will conduct interviews and observations with participants to understand the daily roles of single fathers and mothers and identify the challenges that exist in daily child and home care duties.
  2. Through a series of co-design workshops, through creative exercises technological solutions will be found and prototyped to meet the challenges identified.

The project result is a smart home device prototype designed by and for single parents.

Are you a single father or mother living in the Kassel region? We would love for you to be part of this research project! You DO NOT need to have any technical qualifications! We just need you!

You get to contribute to budding research in Smart Home Technology! It is a chance to meet other single parents and create a social network for single parents. It is a chance to make your ideas and voice heard in terms of technology design. It is a chance to help a researcher (who is also a single parent) out. And it is a chance to be entered into a draw at the end of the study to win a smart home device. Childcare will always be provided during the workshops.

Send an e-mail to Nana Kesewaa Dankwa or call on +49 561 430 802 28 or fill in this form with your name and number and / or email and we will get back to you as soon as possible.