Persuasive Eco-Feedback Technologies

Helen Ai He, Saul Greenberg, and Elaine M. Huang. “One size does not fit all: applying the transtheoretical model to energy feedback technology design.” In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2010), pp. 927-936. ACM, 2010.

Do you use a FitBit? How about an app that tracks how you spend your money?

These are called persuasive technologies – technologies that aim to persuade or motivate behavior change. In this paper, we explored the design of persuasive eco-feedback technologies – technologies that provide feedback on how much energy you’re using with the goal to motivate pro-environmental behaviors.

Examples of eco-feedback technologies – Bottom left:  Screenshot of Ubigreen. Bottom right: Screenshot of Google’s PowerMeter interface.

Current eco-feedback technologies primarily target people who are already motivated to be pro-environmental. But what about the people who aren’t? As we found in our research – one size does not fit all – in terms of design, that is.

To address this gap, our research synthesized psychological theories on motivation and behavior change to eco-feedback technology design. The goal is to target design to each stage of behavior change, from precontemplation, contemplation to preparation, action, and maintenance stages. Check out our full paper here.

Image credit for the green leaf: jason-leung-775955 from unsplash