Using context-aware computing to reduce the perceived burden of interruptions from mobile devices

April 2, 2005


J. Ho, Stephen Intille


The potential for sensor-enabled mobile devices to proactively present information when and where users need it ranks among the greatest promises of ubiquitous computing. Unfortunately, mobile phones, PDAs, and other computing devices that compete for the user's attention can contribute to interruption irritability and feelings of information overload. Designers of mobile computing interfaces, therefore, require strategies for minimizing the perceived interruption burden of proactively delivered messages. In this work, a context-aware mobile computing device was developed that automatically detects postural and ambulatory activity transitions in real time using wireless accelerometers. This device was used to experimentally measure the receptivity to interruptions delivered at activity transitions relative to those delivered at random times. Messages delivered at activity transitions were found to be better received, thereby suggesting a viable strategy for context-aware message delivery in sensor-enabled mobile computing devices.

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