Due to the current situation regarding climate change, smart home energy management systems help to provide an overview of a household’s electricity consumption at appliance level by means of time-scaled visualizations. Such electricity consumption graphs need to be visually appealing to unleash potentials for a positive contribution to energy transition. Triggered emotions in particular play a crucial role for visualization design. Therefore, this paper presents an in-depth facial expression analysis and eye-tracking investigation with a sample of n = 48 non-expert participants with the aim to determine the triggered emotions by different time-scaled electricity consumption graphs at appliance level. Participants were randomly assigned to one of three groups with different time-scaled electricity consumption graphs at appliance level. Within each group, the participants had to complete three tasks based on the presented consumption graph. Results revealed that time-scaled electricity consumption graphs at appliance level have the potential to trigger the emotions joy, surprise, anger, contempt, disgust and sadness. Surprise, contempt and disgust in particular were triggered more frequently than anger and sadness. Furthermore, electricity consumption graphs at appliance level triggered joy more frequently among women than men. However, the type of electricity consumption graph did not influence the extent of triggered emotions. Nevertheless, smart home energy management system suppliers should consider this triggering effect on human emotions to provide adequate solutions that unleash the full potential to support the energy transition.

This study employs Eye Tracking and Facial Expression Analysis, which are fully integrated into the iMotions software suite. To learn more please visit our dedicated product page, or download our complete pocket guides here.