Are you in or are you out? Considering inclusive and exclusive features of digital energy management technologies and wellbeing

Buchanan, Kathryn and Robison, Rosalyn A. V. and Whittle, Colin G. (2016) Are you in or are you out? Considering inclusive and exclusive features of digital energy management technologies and wellbeing. Working Paper. The Balance Network and Urban Institute.

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The increasing prevalence of digital technologies in our daily lives provides motivation to develop our understanding of their impact on wellbeing (quality of life). In this exploratory paper, we defne and develop the idea that features of technology can be more or less ‘inclusive’ or ‘exclusive’, and that these two modalities make fundamentally diferent assumptions about how wellbeing is enabled. At the inclusive end of the spectrum, ultimate choice and responsibility is laid with the user: the technology (designer) aims to raise awareness, enable, and inspire user action. Exclusive features, on the other hand, aim to ‘serve’ by taking on tasks that (it is assumed) the user cannot / doesn’t want to / doesn’t have time to undertake. These concepts build on notions of active/passive technology use, but more explicitly consider: (i) user perception; (ii) designer intention; (iii) interconnectedness with sociological setting. Using existing data from users’ reactions to prospective and existing Home Energy Management Systems (HEMS), we illustrate how inclusive/exclusive features of technology may better satisfy (or thwart) user’s psychological needs. This holds consequences for wellbeing, but depends in large part upon the very particular context of the user during that instance of technology use. We suggest scope for design of different technology ‘modes’, which recognise how users’ needs may change over time. We conclude that future research which explores the relationship between inclusive and exclusive experiences of technology and wellbeing could be of use to designers, and holds implications for technology uptake/ rejection, performance and longevity of use.

Item Type: Research Report or Working Paper (Working Paper)
Additional Information: Pages 30-35 of the following report: Daily life, digital technologies and energy demand: Working paper collection.
Keywords: digital tecnologies
Faculty: ARCHIVED Faculty of Science & Technology (until September 2018)
Depositing User: Ian Walker
Date Deposited: 14 Dec 2016 08:56
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 16:13

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