Planting the Seed of Positive Human-IoT Interaction

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present a visual interface for communicating the internal state of a coffee machine via a tree metaphor. Nature-inspired representations have a positive impact on human well-being. We also hypothesize that representing the coffee machine as a tree stimulates emotional connection to it, which leads to better maintenance performance.

The first study assessed the understandability of the tree representation, comparing it with icon-based and chart-based representations. An online survey with 25 participants indicated no significant mean error difference between representations.

A two-week field study assessed the maintenance performance of 12 participants, comparing the tree representation with the icon-based representation. Based on 240 interactions with the coffee machine, we concluded that participants understood the machine states significantly better in the tree representation. Their comments and behavior indicated that the tree representation encouraged an emotional engagement with the machine. Moreover, the participants performed significantly more optional maintenance tasks with the tree representation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Human-Computer Interaction
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2019


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