rowed methods from psychologyto study consumers and analyzetheir practices, using the resultsto inform the design of productsand the dissemination of information to maximize the benefitsfor the interested stakeholders.
Marketing research is often dismissed or overlooked in the HCIresearch due to the perception ofit as primarily prescriptive ratherthan descriptive in regard to therelationship between consumersand products. However, marketingresearch also focuses heavily onconveying information to consumers to influence their behavior,and as such its goals align to someextent with those of persuasivetechnology, a major thread of sustainable HCI research. Therefore,we believe that an understandingof and familiarity with modelsand concepts drawn from the fieldof marketing research can enrichand inform research in sustainable HCI by putting a new lenson the existing body of research,offering potentially useful toolsand highlighting new or previouslyoverlooked aspects.
Marketing research offers a
wealth of concepts of potential
value for sustainable HCI. As
as those by Jina Huh et al. [ 1] and
by Elaine Huang and Khai Truong
[ 2] highlight HCI’s potential role
in supporting sustainable decision
making surrounding purchases.
James Pierce and Eric Paulos [ 3]have studied reacquisition practices in order to understand howto provide HCI support. And aparticularly in-depth study of consumption practices through thelens of sustainable HCI was conducted by Kristin Hanks et al. [ 4],in which they presented a modelof consumer attitudes towardconsumption of electronics, withtailored recommendations abouthow to encourage sustainable consumer behavior.
It is clear that in order to provide support for sustainable purchasing, sustainable HCI researchneeds to understand consumersand their purchasing processes.
Understanding people and studying practices is not new to HCI.
However, we have yet to seizethe opportunity to draw insightsabout purchasing behavior andthe buying decision process froma field that has been investigating these processes for severaldecades: marketing research.
Marketing research has bor-
Everyday life is full of deci-
sions that often involve choos-
ing between a sustainable choice
and an unsustainable choice. For
example, consider a typical pur-
chase in a domain with lots of
diversity, such as laptops. How
do we determine which brand or
model is the most sustainable
one? And what does sustainable
even mean here? Is it about themanufacturing process, how touse or consume this product, orhow to dispose of it? And how dowe allocate percentage of impactto the various factors? Where doI get this information, and if Ihave it, how might this conflictwith my other requirements,my needs and desires? At times,these decisions can be hard, notjust because of the difficulty incomparing products on seeminglyincomparable scales of properties,but also because the informationabout these properties might notbe accessible or understandable.
Sustainable HCI research hasexamined different aspects of howpeople make decisions regarding the purchase or acquisition ofgoods, and how information andconflicting needs come into playin these decisions. Studies such
Taking a Note from
Marketing Research in
University of Zurich | firstname.lastname@example.org
Sustainability in (Inter)Action provides a forum for innovative thought, design, and research in thearea of interaction design and environmental sustainability. The column explores how HCI cancontribute to the complex and interdisciplinary efforts to address sustainability challenges.
Elaine M. Huang, Editor