Two teams from Simon Fraser University (SFU) representing Canada just finished the Round 2 of Imagine Cup Interface Design Competition. As we wish them the best luck to enter the finals in France, I would like to recognize them and highlight their projects based on this year's theme "Imagine a world where technology enables a sustainable environment." Both of the teams prototyped their projects in Expression Studio. In this post, we introduce you the "GreenNet Facebook Application."
Designers: Jin Fan, Kevin Muise from School of Interactive Arts and Technology, SFU
Global warming is quickly becoming one of the most important issues facing humankind, and has brought concerns regarding sustainable practices, especially within western societies. In order to address this issue, we have designed a Facebook application that aims at creating a culture of conservation, through providing its users with information on their energy usage. Employing an application through Facebook provides a platform to communicate to thousands of individuals and communities within our target audience who reside in various geographic locations. Social networks, such as Facebook, have become more than a mere source of entertainment ¨C they are a means to communicate new ideas, become an active voice in a community, and more importantly, they are an opportunity to influence culture.
Our approach to designing the application was guided by a user-focused process, which has led us to create an enjoyable and informative user experience. Our system provides its users with an interface that acts as a virtual garden, where their participation in energy conscious activities effects the growth of the plants within that space. Users are also provided with information on their energy consumption, along with the consumption of their friends and communities, which can be generated through data from electricity providers. Visualizing this information is used to raise awareness of unsustainable practices through providing individuals feedback on energy consumption within their communities. In doing so, our system acts as means to change energy consumption behavior towards more sustainable practices, not only in individuals, but within society at large.