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Mental model interface design: putting users in control of home heating

Mental model interface design: putting users in control of home heating
Mental model interface design: putting users in control of home heating
Occupant behaviour is a key variable affecting the amount of energy used in homes. The understanding, interface and interaction with heating controls hold the potential to influence how heating is operated and, in turn, how much energy is consumed. A study is presented to test a series of hypotheses that the design of the home-heating interface can positively influence the achievement of home-heating goals, if it is specifically designed to communicate a user mental model (UMM) of how the system functions. This would encourage appropriate inhabitant behaviour. The experiment involved 20 pairs of participants matched by age, gender and home-heating experience. The participants were asked to attain a series of home-heating goals using an accelerated home-heating simulator. The impact of specific design features of a novel interface design was compared with an interface offering a traditional home-heating system experience. The evidence confirms that design features contributed to differences in UMMs, intentional behaviour and goal achievement. A mental model approach to design can be used as a means of putting users ‘in control’ of their heating system to enable them to fulfil their home-heating goals better.
0961-3218
1-21
Revell, Kirsten M.A.
e80fedfc-3022-45b5-bcea-5a19d5d28ea0
Stanton, Neville A.
351a44ab-09a0-422a-a738-01df1fe0fadd
Revell, Kirsten M.A.
e80fedfc-3022-45b5-bcea-5a19d5d28ea0
Stanton, Neville A.
351a44ab-09a0-422a-a738-01df1fe0fadd

Revell, Kirsten M.A. and Stanton, Neville A. (2017) Mental model interface design: putting users in control of home heating. Building Research & Information, 1-21. (doi:10.1080/09613218.2017.1377518).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Occupant behaviour is a key variable affecting the amount of energy used in homes. The understanding, interface and interaction with heating controls hold the potential to influence how heating is operated and, in turn, how much energy is consumed. A study is presented to test a series of hypotheses that the design of the home-heating interface can positively influence the achievement of home-heating goals, if it is specifically designed to communicate a user mental model (UMM) of how the system functions. This would encourage appropriate inhabitant behaviour. The experiment involved 20 pairs of participants matched by age, gender and home-heating experience. The participants were asked to attain a series of home-heating goals using an accelerated home-heating simulator. The impact of specific design features of a novel interface design was compared with an interface offering a traditional home-heating system experience. The evidence confirms that design features contributed to differences in UMMs, intentional behaviour and goal achievement. A mental model approach to design can be used as a means of putting users ‘in control’ of their heating system to enable them to fulfil their home-heating goals better.

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Accepted/In Press date: 29 August 2017
e-pub ahead of print date: 16 October 2017

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 417360
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/417360
ISSN: 0961-3218
PURE UUID: 1f64084b-bfb7-438f-93d7-0781bea1e249
ORCID for Neville A. Stanton: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-8562-3279

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Date deposited: 30 Jan 2018 17:30
Last modified: 18 Feb 2021 17:13

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