Sustainability and Behavior Change


May 7, 2012 @ 16:30, Room: 18CD

Chair: A.J. Brush, Microsoft Research, USA
Collapse Informatics: Augmenting the Sustainability & ICT4D Discourse in HCI - Paper
Community: design
Contribution & Benefit: Augments the discourse on sustainable HCI and ICT4D to include notions of preparation for and adaptation to potential societal collapse, suggesting exemplars for interactivity design in response to such scenarios.
Abstract » Research in many fields argues that contemporary global industrial civilization will not persist indefinitely in its current form, and may, like many past human societies, eventually collapse. Arguments in environmental studies, anthropology, and other fields indicate that this transformation could begin within the next half-century. While imminent collapse is far from certain, it is prudent to consider now how to develop sociotechnical systems for use in these scenarios. We introduce the notion of collapse informatics - the study, design, and development of sociotechnical systems in the abundant present for use in a future of scarcity - as a complement to ICT4D and mitigation-oriented sustainable HCI. We draw on a variety of literatures to offer a set of relevant concepts and articulate the relationships among them to orient and evaluate collapse informatics work. Observing that collapse informatics poses a unique class of cross-cultural design problems, we sketch the design space of collapse informatics and provide a variety of example projects. We explore points of connection and distinction between collapse informatics and sustainable HCI, ICT4D, and crisis informatics. Finally, we discuss next steps and comment on the potential value of collapse informatics work even in the event that collapse never occurs.
Beyond Energy Monitors: Interaction, Energy, and Emerging Energy Systems - Paper
Community: design
Contribution & Benefit: Reviews energy-related literature from within and outside of HCI. Characterizes a dominant cluster of work related to "energy consumption feedback", and points to design and research opportunities with emerging energy systems.
Abstract » Motivated by a recent surge of research related to energy and sustainability, this paper presents a review of energy-related work within HCI as well as from literature outside of HCI. Our review of energy-related HCI research identifies a central cluster of work focused on electricity consumption feedback (ECF). Our review of literature outside of HCI highlights a number of emerging energy systems trends of strong relevance to HCI and interaction design, including smart grid, demand response, and distributed generation technologies. We conclude by outlining a range of opportunities for HCI to engage with the experiential, behavioral, social, and cultural aspects of these emerging systems, including highlighting new areas for ECF research that move beyond our field�s current focus on energy feedback displays to increase awareness and motivate individual conservation behavior.
The Dubuque Water Portal: Evaluation of the Uptake, Use and Impact of Residential Water Consumption Feedback - Paper
Community: user experience
Contribution & Benefit: Evaluation of a water portal deployed to 303 homes that used feedback and social techniques to produce a 6.6% decrease in water consumption. Can assist designers of residential feedback systems.
Abstract » The Dubuque Water Portal is a system aimed at supporting voluntary reductions of water consumption that is intended to be deployed city-wide. It provides each household with fine-grained, near real time feedback on their water consumption, as well as using techniques like social comparison, weekly games, and news and chat to encourage water conservation. This study used logs, a survey and interviews to evaluate a 15-week pilot with 303 households. It describes the Portal's design, and discusses its adoption, use and impacts. The system resulted in a 6.6% decrease in water consumption, and the paper employs qualitative methods to look at the ways in which the Portal was (or wasn't) effective in supporting its users and enabling them to reduce their consumption. The paper concludes with a discussion of design implications for residential feedback systems, and possible engagement models.
Embedded interaction in a Water Fountain for Motivating Behavior Change in Public Space - Note
Community: designCommunity: user experience
Contribution & Benefit: Presents an augmented water fountain with audiovisual feedback aimed at improving and motivating the water-drinking experience. Shows an inspiring way of conducting long-term in-the-wild studies that affect users and public space.
Abstract » This paper presents an interactive installation for a public space aimed at motivating new behaviors by augmenting the space with subtle and playful audiovisual interaction aesthetically integrated in a shared environment. Designed to complement an existing water fountain with projected light and sound, the embedded installation encouraged people to take a drink, increasing the proportion of people who used the water fountain by 42% to 57% approximately for nine months. Sensors evaluated the impact of multiple interaction modalities on actual water usage. We found that subtle interaction can improve the experience of a space, in particular for those that use it frequently, and lead to sustained behavior change, especially when its modalities are responsive to the level of activity in the space.
A Transformational Product to Improve Self-Control Strength: the Chocolate Machine - Note
Community: design
Contribution & Benefit: The Chocolate Machine is an exploratory interactive product to train self-control strength. Self-control is at the heart of many desirable behaviours, but often neglected by Persuasive Technologies.
Abstract » Lack of self-control is at the heart of many undesirable behaviors, such as overeating, overspending, and even overworking. While the field of Persuasive Technologies searches for ways to change attitudes and behaviors, it often neglects the science of self-control. We present the Chocolate Machine, an exploratory interactive product to train self-control strength based upon Ego Depletion theory. A field study showed the machine to increase perceived self-control over time, while providing a sustained positive experience. This makes the machine transformational, aiming at facilitating behaviors people find worthwhile, but hard to implement.