Energy UX: Leveraging Multiple Methods to See the Big Picture
Engaging the public to decrease their carbon footprint via energy feedback has become a significant topic of both study and practice and understanding how to best leverage technology for this purpose is an ideal question for the field of HCI to address. One common example is Home Energy Reports (HERs) and Business energy reports (BERs), which are paper or electronic reports that display a consumer’s energy use alongside various benchmarks and “tips” to help (and persuade) them to save energy. While HERs and BERs show great promise, average savings hover around 1–3% with the potential savings in the average home and/or business closer to 15–20%, leaving potential room for improvement. This paper presents a mixed-methods research framework that is being used to improve BER user experience and energy savings. It blends inductive research methods from the fields of design and HCI with deductive methods drawn from psychology and behavioral economics to develop and test hypotheses and translate findings into real-world application. After introducing the framework, a case study is presented in which these steps are followed over two years of research with one BER product across multiple utility pilots. Implications for both energy feedback specifically as well as suggestions on how this framework can be applied across the broader field of usability are discussed.
KeywordsEnergy Feedback Usability Psychology Multi-disciplinary
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