Why It Is Difficult to Use a Simple Device: An Analysis of a Room Thermostat

  • Sami Karjalainen
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 4550)


A diversity of usability problems with office thermostats were found in a preceding study. In this paper, the reasons behind the problems are studied by analysing a room thermostat. The analysis shows that a substantial amount of information is needed to use a simple thermostat, and the system image of the thermostat does not deliver the information. From the viewpoint of the analysis, it is not surprising that office occupants have serious problems with thermostats.


thermostat knowledge information needs user interface design 


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  1. 1.
    Karjalainen, S., Koistinen, O.: User Problems with Individual Temperature Control in Offices. Building and Environment (In Press)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Kempton, W.: Two Theories of Home Heat Control. In: Quinn, N., Holland, D.C. (eds.) Cultural Models in Language and Thought, pp. 222–242. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (1987)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Norman, D.A.: The Design of Everyday Things. Basic Books, New York (1988)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sami Karjalainen
    • 1
  1. 1.VTT, P.O. Box 1000, 02044 VTTFinland

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