The Design Process

The Problem Space

The Negative Nancies were assigned the unique and exciting domain of 'Change Through Discomfort'. This domain explores ways to induce uncomfortable situations towards a user to invoke change within their habits. Brainstorming amongst the team and research was conducted to discover possible topics of exploration. The topic of sustainable solutions and energy saving was a predominant theme that appeared, and so research and user testing was conducted surrounding Australian households and their energy consumption.

Key Insights

From the research discovered, it was revealed that Australian households believed they were not being as efficient as they could be. This information led the Negative Nancies to explore ideas surrounding ways to alert households when consuming too much energy, and to do so through annoying and discomforting methods, in order to adhere to the domain.

An initial survey was conducted in order to understand the habits that users would like to change and what responses annoy them (click HERE to see varying responses from users). Upon further exploration surrounding Australian households and user interviews between younger and older generations, I found that the younger generation was more aware of being environmentally friendly.

Decisions and Outcomes

With initial surveys and research completed, the results of these findings led to the following decisions:

- AUDIENCE: Focus on Adult Households
- ENERGY USAGE FOCUS: Light Consumption at Home
- DISCOMFORTING SOLUTIONS: Flashing Lights, Annoying Sounds

With all this information collated, the idea of Energy Saving Emily was developed - a device that annoys an adult user through lights and sound in order to gain a response from them to make a change towards their light consumption at home.

As progress with building Emily continued, user testing undergone and feedback provided by peers led to certain changes within Emily (click HERE to read about feedback).

IMPROVED BEHAVIOUR STATE: Initially, I wasn't planning on including any type of feedback to the user about their improvements, however when conducting user testing, the users provided feedback suggesting that it would be beneficial to the project. Considering this, I decided upon a simplified way to alert the user of their changed behaviour as it also complemented the 'Change Through Discomfort' domain in allowing the user to see their change.

INTERACTION WITH EMILY: Another suggestion from user testing was providing user interaction with Emily, rather than her being a static object. This led to the implementation of a switch, where users were required to walk up to Emily in order to stop her annoying cries for help, which also aided in adding another level of annoyance.

ADJUSTING SOUND: Additional feedback suggested that the monotonous beeping may not be heard by users, and also was quite lack-luster. With this feedback, I implemented varying beeping tones, making it easier for users to hear as well as providing Emily with a bit of personality (inspired by R2-D2).