TUT 07/09/2012 - 07/13/2012

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Technology Usability Testing Report -- 07/14/2012

Overall, participants have a good grasp of what kinds of information they will see on the electricity display. They understand that the first slide is relevant to setting a reduction goal. The testing before this week included images of the thermometer, which people found confusing. They believed it was related to temperature; therefore, it was not an effective way to represent usage goals. Although the new design—the speedometer—was correctly interpreted as an energy consumption display, its purpose as goal attainment feedback was not as successful as we hoped. The participant this week interpreted the image as a "dial," rather than a speedometer. This could be fixed by making the image look more representative of a speedometer that you would see in a car. This would mean we could add tick marks in addition to the blocks of colors. We could also make it so that there are no white spaces between the colors, improving the continuity of the information being displayed. The participant understood the color scheme: green being on target, orange being close to "overshooting," and red being over your target. The numbers on each "block" was also seen as an arbitrary number, which means showing numbers there might be a source of confusion. There isn't a clear indication that the speedometer is displaying instantaneous feedback; however, the participant noted that this could be solved by showing an animation instead of a still image. I believe that displaying instantaneous feedback alone will not be a good gauge for goal attainment; however, I think it could be a good substitute for appliance specific feedback. I say this because when people run their clothes dryer, they can see that the speedometer will be in the red. They will understand that the dryer consumes a significant amount of energy, which is really the most important piece of information they need to know to learn about consumption in the home.

The participants basically understood what the bar graph represented. One concern that came to mind was the color of the bars. Because we are using a color scheme for the speedometer and the calendar, we should think about using the same colors for the bars. It might be important for us to consider allowing people to set a default comparison. There have been a mix of responses for the importance of weekly vs daily comparative data. I think that most people have a preference of what information would help them, but they don't actually know what feedback will actually help them reduce their consumption. We should look into the effects of people seeing daily cumulative feedback and weekly cumulative feedback. The participants did not have any problems navigating from the bar graphs to the calendar.

In general, participants understood the contents of the calendar; although, a lot of them mentioned making the image larger on the screen. There were a few participants who liked the idea of having a line graph, but most of them did not know how they could use the graph to change their behavior. There were some suggestions on making the graph interactive, which meant they could click on the graph to make it larger. This might be a cool feature, but if we're looking strictly at goal feedback, the line graph does seem to be a helpful tool to help them attain their goal. The legend was useful because it made the color theme salient to the participant. Without it, the participant did not make the connection between the colors of the bars on the calendar, to the blocks on the speedometer. The calendar is unique in the sense that it gives people feedback on any timeframe they desire. The participant mentioned that he could simultaneously compare his daily, weekly, and monthly use.

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