Parameters for an Ambient Display with regard to promoting Environmental Awareness

25 Feb

1. The user should be able to identify the difference between a single light turning on/off at least. This allows the display to act as a teaching tool so that the user can experiment with different appliances and receive feedback.

2. The display must be non-intrusive, easily accessible/convenient and aesthetically pleasing (supported by research in previous blogs such as The Effectiveness of Feedback on Energy Consumption and also to maintain properties of an ambient display).

3. Because at present the prototypes are aimed at the domestic environment in particular the kitchen the use of auditory and visual stimulus would be more appropriate (refer to “Feedback Logic” designing Audio Aura and “How an Ambient Display Works”, Pashler, 1998).

4. “Humans are keenly adept at awareness of natural phenomena, and that this skill can be leveraged as a means of information display that is both coherent and aesthetically pleasing” (Personal Ambient Displays).

5. Provide the information in such a way that is intuitive with regard to a systems display and how the data collected is encoded into the chosen modality. It should have an immediate degree of similarity or a representation of the data being displayed. For example metaphors or icons (Feedback Logic).

6. A balance between Information Capacity, Notification Level, Representational Fidelity and Aesthetic Emphasis (refer to Feedback Logic)

7. And must be able to provide direct, immediate feedback (The Effectiveness of Feedback on Energy Consumption).

Because of the above reasons (in particular 2, 3, 4, 5, 7) and supporting research I have began investigating the flow of water as an ambient display to represent the flow of energy in the home (energy consumption). Research would suggest that synthesized sounds become annoying after days of repetition. “In particular, people complained that sounds that are looped in some kind of discernible way, or sounds that seem to be coming from an artificial source, tend to become annoying very quickly”. However a real stream of water flowing creates a significantly audible, persistent acoustic noise. In contrast to the artificial source people were drawn to, and relaxed by the subtle sounds of the flowing water (Personal Ambient Display).

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