Inside MyHEAT: Utilizing user feedback to make improvements
By Bilal Karim
At MyHEAT, our mission is to empower a worldwide reduction in urban greenhouse gas emissions, one building at a time. As we expand our coverage across North America and work towards this mission, it is critical for us to make sure our users easily 1) discover and understand their home’s Heat Loss Map and Scores and 2) connect with incentive programs or service providers to improve their home comfort and energy efficiency. We launched the beta version for Alberta last September keeping these goals in mind during the product development process. Here’s a snapshot of what it looked like at launch.
After the beta period ended, we used feedback from our users to make several product enhancements, particularly to the way information was communicated about a user’s home Heat Loss Map and Score. Getting this right is critical, because if users do not understand the information being presented to them, they are less likely to take action to improve their home’s comfort and energy efficiency. Our initial assumption, as demonstrated in the research by NN/g, was that users do not want to read very much on websites. This is why we used minimal text to explain our solutions to users during the beta period.
For example, a Heat Loss Map was described as, “Use this map as a guide to visualize heat loss, where red areas are losing more heat than blue areas. Typical causes could include insufficient insulation, draught proofing, and heat loss to an attached garage.”
Similarly, a Heat Loss Score was described as, “Your home’s score is 6/10, which indicates moderate total heat loss. A lower score means that the house loses less energy. Typically larger homes lose more energy than smaller homes.”
Short and simple enough, right?
What we found was that our users wanted even more information about their home’s Heat Loss Map and Score. Here are some examples of the most common type of feedback we received during the beta period:
- “How do we interpret this information?”
- “When was the imagery taken?”
- “How were the data collected? Satellite or aerial?”
- “Isn’t the sun influencing measurements of the roof?”
- “Can you provide a larger map?”
After taking this user feedback into consideration and working on numerous concepts, here’s what the new version looked like for our first launch city in Ontario.
On first glance, it is a big departure from the previous version, especially in terms of the amount of text. We now clearly state what the Heat Loss Map and Scores mean, how and when they were collected, and their accuracy in an effort to address concerns we saw in our user feedback. We also wanted the text to still be easily scannable so using strong emphasis on key points that we wanted our users to understand helped achieve that. It’s still early, but we’re already seeing better results with these improvements.
By listening to our users and making these changes, the new version resulted in homeowners taking 1.5X more action than the previous version.
We want to build a product that works for across all regions and demographics — regardless of where users position themselves on energy efficiency. Users who reside in western Canada may perceive energy efficiency differently than the east or anywhere else in the world. So how does one strike the balance between the right amount of content, visual design, and general usability? This poses an interesting and on-going challenge, and will keep us driving forward as we continue to make product improvements to the MyHEAT platform.
MyHEAT engages the human spirit on energy efficiency. Our mission is to empower a worldwide reduction in urban greenhouse gas emissions, one building at a time. We show energy loss in a new and interesting way, and provide the tools and information needed to make changes for the better. See the platform in action at myheat.ca, or get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org