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Does data visualization affect users' understanding of electricity consumption?

Herrmann, MR; Brumby, DP; Oreszczyn, T; Gilbert, XMP; (2018) Does data visualization affect users' understanding of electricity consumption? Building Research & Information , 46 (3) pp. 238-250. 10.1080/09613218.2017.1356164. Green open access

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Abstract

Different data visualizations are investigated for how they enable occupants to learn about domestic energy consumption. Smart metering can potentially encourage householders to change their behaviour and save energy. However, concerns exist about whether users understand domestic energy feedback. Two challenges are addressed: feedback displays typically show aggregate consumption and they show time-series data visualizations, which are difficult to relate to everyday actions in the household. A laboratory experiment (N = 43) assessed changes in participants’ knowledge of how much electricity everyday actions consume after being exposed to different forms of energy-consumption data visualizations: (1) an aggregated time-series line graph, (2) a disaggregated time-series line graph and (3) a normalized disaggregated visualization that deemphasized time. Participants played an energy game both before and after they saw the simulation. Participants in condition (3) were more accurate and more confident in their post-test judgments about everyday domestic electricity consumption than other participants. These findings suggest that the type of data visualization affects users’ understanding of domestic electricity consumption. The visualization of disaggregated energy feedback at the appliance level should be considered for future generations of technology.

Type: Article
Title: Does data visualization affect users' understanding of electricity consumption?
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/09613218.2017.1356164
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09613218.2017.1356164
Language: English
Additional information: © 2017 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: agency, behaviour change, data visualization, disaggregation, energy demand, energy literacy, feedback, smart meters, time series
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > UCL Interaction Centre
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Bartlett School Env, Energy and Resources
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1566944
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