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    An exploratory study to design constrained engagement in smart heating systems

    HCI 2017 - Digital make-believe

    Proceedings of the 31st International BCS Human Computer Interaction Conference (HCI 2017)

    University of Sunderland, St Peter’s campus, Sunderland, UK, 3 - 6 July 2017


    Simonas Skrebe & Simone Stumpf



    Smart heating systems that leverage complex models of user preferences and energy consumption within the home and the wider network in order to make intelligent heating decisions have started to be adopted in homes. While heating systems that allow the user to directly manipulate the heating schedule and temperature have been investigated in some detail, little is known about how to strike a balance between encouraging users to interact with the system but not to demand too much of their attention, what research has termed "constrained engagement" with calm technology. In this exploratory study, we investigated how participants responded to a number of scenarios involving a novel smart heating system in order to support controllability, intelligibility and user experience as part of a constrained engagement approach. We focused in particular on when participants wanted to engage with the smart heating system and how explanations from the system could influence user engagement. Our study contributes a better understanding of users' expectations towards smart heating systems that can form the basis of improved user interfaces.


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