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PEACOX: Helping you walk (or bike or drive) the sustainble walk.

First prototype Screenshots. From http://www.project-peacox.eu/

First prototype Screenshots. From http://www.project-peacox.eu/

Peacox is a mobile application that looks to “motivate users to use more environmentally-friendly modes of transport and thus reduce their CO2 emissions.” (source) In order to do this, the design of the user interface makes use of numerous persuasive strategies, including “tunneling” and “suggestion” (i.e. guiding the user towards the greenest choice via the number and order in which route recommendations are presented), “self-monitoring” (i.e. tracking the user’s performance over time), “reward” (e.g. praising the user for positive performance and providing them with badges) and “competition” (i.e. the ability to compare one’s performance with a social network). Prior to selecting a route, the user can chose from a small, tailored series of options, ordered by their corresponding grams of CO2 likely to be emitted on each proposed route.

In addition to presenting the route options, the designers have added 12 potential persuasive messages to encourage the user to opt for the mores sustainable choice (e.g. “Your CO2 score is great. Continue like this by taking this route”). Whether the user receives such a message, and which one they are to receive, is dependent on the context and the user profile. In the “shift potential” section, the user learns how they can improve their travel by shifting certain trips (e.g. short drives could becomes walks or rides)

The CO2 tree in all it's glory.

The CO2 tree in all it’s glory.

From the home page of the application, one can track their overall performance by referencing the CO2 tree, a visualization of past CO2 emissions – more leaves indicate better behavior, fewer means worse (a similar visual has been found in hybrid cars). Rather than a static measure, the designers have made this a relative performance measure to reward positive changes, no matter if you are driving every day (and choosing better routes), or cycling most days. They reward users on an “absolute scale (i.e. having low emissions) and on a relative scale (i.e. reducing their emissions, even if on a high level).” Users are also about to drill down and get much more details through a “statistics” section of the app.

They are currently running a second field test in Dublin and Vienna of a refined prototype. You can find all the details about the project at their website. For the real nerds, they have extensive documentation in the public deliverables section. If you want to learn more about the persuasive strategies found in the first prototype, you can find them in the detailed report “Detailed Design Persuasive Eco-Feedback Strategies Version 2.”

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