An Exploration into Framing Effects and Information Preferences: Implications for the Design of Energy Feedback Interfaces.
Abstract: A recent
topic in the energy industry involves developing strategies to reduce the necessary peak
production capacity of our future electricity infrastructure. One of these strategies is
promoting behavioral change among individual energy consumers. An inherent problem with
electricity consumption is that electricity is invisible, intangible, and abstract.
Interfaces that provide pe... read moreople with useful feedback on their usage can help with
understanding and reduction of consumption. These interfaces intend to empower
individuals with ability to adopt less wasteful energy consumption behaviors. Skillful
HCI design will include attention to informational preferences, and framing effects due
to presentation choices. An online questionnaire was utilized to explore this domain,
and the results identified design requirements for a home feedback interface. The final
dataset contained responses from 36 male and 49 female United States residents. Cost ($)
was perceived as the most useful metric and kW as the least useful. Respondent
preference was expressed for lower levels of automation, which was not attributable to
distrust of automation. Further, a test of framings effects showed a higher likelihood
to change behavior to save 100 dollars per year than 2 per week (U=1248.5, p=0.001). A
feedback interface design based on the questionnaire results was used in the second
phase of the research. A 2x2x2 factorial design compared the effects of goal-type
(specific vs. open-ended), metric-use ($ vs. kWh), and visualization (graphical vs.
text-only) on user experience, learning and behavior during a consumption reduction
task. Results showed that goal-type affects the amount of diagnostic behavior conducted
by participants (U=351.0, p=0.001). Goal-type and metric-use independently affect
participant belief that they could reduce their consumption in their real home with the
same feedback shown in the task, F(df=1,39)=24.77, p=0.001; F(df=1,39)=5.55, p=0.05. In
addition, visualization affects perceived comfort sacrifice from changing behaviors to
reduce consumption, F(df=1,39)=8.97, p=0.01.
Thesis (M.S.)--Tufts University, 2013.
Submitted to the Dept. of Mechanical Engineering.
Advisor: Daniel Hannon.
Committee: Robert Hannemann, and Remco Chang.
Keywords: Information science, Behavioral sciences, and Design.read less