User evaluation of the first prototype of the interactive web tool EcoRunner
EcoRunner is an interactive web tool that has been designed to be the “best possible” modelling tool for portraying direct and indirect environmental effects of household metabolism when it comes to energy, carbon and nitrogen. This report analyses the first two steps of a pilot study evaluating households‟ reactions to, and use of, the tool. Participants were asked first to use EcoRunner to record their consumption of 115 different products and services into five main categories; housing, household purchases, leisure, transports and compensatory measures. Afterwards they were asked to answer six open-ended questions about their experiences in using the tool and to give suggestions for improvements. The results show that household purchases represent the largest part of money spent, and as a consequence also the largest flows of energy, carbon dioxide equivalents, and nitrogen. Households with children spent considerably more money per year on all consumption sectors, with the exception of compensatory measures. In general participants rated the testing exercise as interesting and the tool as user-friendly. However, the results also show a major contradiction; some respondents felt that the tool was too detailed and complex, whereas others wanted a more detailed level. The time period for consumption (yearly basis) was problematic for some users, and some stated that they would have preferred to use metric units to describe their consumption instead of a monetary unit. Some households asked for more items related to both compensatory measures and the non-formal economical sector. The results of these first two steps of the pilot study in evaluating EcoRunner have provided valuable and insightful information that will be used as guidelines in further refinements of the tool.