Dependable Domestic Systems Design: A Socio-technical Approach

Ian Sommerville, G. Dewsbury

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


This paper describes a model that defines the attributes of domestic systems that lead to system dependability and a user-oriented specification method for support systems based on this model. We start by discussing technical dependability models and discuss how these have to be extended for use in a domestic context. We present an extended dependability model based on a socio-technical perspective. This extends the technical notion of dependability to take into account fitness for purpose, acceptability and adaptability. We then go on to discuss MDDS - a questionnaire-based method that reflects the socio-technical dependability model. It is intended for use by social care professionals who are specifying and designing support systems for older or disabled people. MDDS provides a basis for examining a design from a dependability perspective. We illustrate the use of the method and conclude with a discussion of its qualitative evaluation. (C) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)438-456
Number of pages19
JournalInteracting with Computers
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2007


  • socio-technical systems
  • domestic computer systems
  • system dependability
  • design method


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