Accessible smart central heating control apps

Accessible smart central heating control apps: seven top features

In order for users to get the most out of their smart heating controls it is important that their accompanying app is simple, easy to use and accessible.

We identified seven top accessibility features to look out for:

1. Easy download and set-up

  • Is the app easy to find and download from your app store?
  • Are clear instructions provided throughout the whole set-up process?
  • Does the set-up process involve minimal steps?
  • Is it easy to pair your smart device(s) with the app?

2. Assistive technology compatible

  • Is the app compatible with your screenreader (VoiceOver or Talkback)?
  • Are you able to enlarge parts of the app using Zoom or Magnification?
  • Does the app support other enhancements (e.g. enlarged text size, contrast, colour inversion) made to your smartphone or tablet?

3. Ability to customise

  • Are you able to adjust the text size or change the colour contrast in the app’s settings?
  • Are you able to customise the app’s layout and chose what information is displayed to you?

4. Good visual features

  • Is there good colour contrasting between text or icons and the background?
  • Are buttons and images clearly presented and labelled with text?
  • Is the interface minimal and not crowded with too many buttons or information?
  • Are important features clearly visible to you on the screen without needing to scroll down?

5. Easy to operate

  • Are buttons large enough and is there enough space between them for you to target them by touch?
  • Are buttons placed where they can be easily reached when holding your device in different positions (i.e. portrait vs. landscape)?
  • Does the app require simple tap or swiping gestures to operate it?
  • Does the app allow you to enter text and numbers in different ways (e.g. drop-down menus, autofill and speech input) that reduce the time and effort spent doing it manually?

6. Responsive 

  • When you tap or swipe on something, does the app let you know that something has changed visually, through audio tones or vibrations?
  • Does the app help you recognise, diagnose and recover from errors?

7. Easy to understand

  • Are you able to easily recognise and understand what buttons and icons allow you to perform certain actions?
  • Are you able to understand the information that is presented to you?

These are the top ease-of-use and accessibility features RiDC researchers found when testing smart heating control apps with our consumer panel.

If you'd like to take part in our research, join our consumer panel.