Consumer research for older and disabled people

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Central heating controls - checklist

When choosing a control, ask yourself the following questions to help work out whether it will be easy for you to use.

Labelling

  • Small, faint labelling on dials and buttons is common.
  • Are all features labelled clearly?
  • Is written information large, bold and high-contrast enough for you to see?
  • Are tactile labels easy to understand? They aren’t always self-explanatory.

Buttons and switches

  • Are buttons and switches easy to see or find by touch?
  • Do they give positive sound or tactile feedback when used?

Screen

Digital displays can give more information and control, but only if you can read them.

  • Can you read all of the information on the screen? Sometimes temperature is large, but other information is small and faint.
  • Is there a backlight to help visibility, and does it stay on for long enough?
  • Is all the information easy to find and understand?

Dexterity

  • Are dials easy to grip and turn?
  • Are buttons, switches and tappets easy to move?

Setting up

  • Position your control somewhere that’s easy to get to. Some wireless controls can be detached and carried round the house.
  • Can you position the control so that it’s easy to see and reach? Go for well-lit areas.
  • Will you be able to set up and adjust the control by yourself, or will you need help?
  • Are instructions available in an accessible format and easy to understand?

Last updated: February 2014


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