Using Physical Activity Transition to Reduce the Perceived Burden of Interruption by Mobile Phones

Kelly Gerschefske and Sudhanshu K. Semwal


Wearable Devices, Handling Interruption , Productivity Measures


Wearable computing devices, such as the smartphone, personal digital assistant, and global positioning system have become ubiquitous today. These devices are designed to enhance and enrich daily activities by providing automatic and autonomous support. However, these devices can be intrusive, particularly when the user is immersed in another more important activity. Furthermore, continuous disruptions can often leave the consumer with feelings of frustration or anxiety. One approach to reducing disruptions of wearable devices is to deliver the notifications to the user during times of transition of activity. During activity transition, the user’s perceived burden is lower because they are actively changing their primary task to prepare for another. This research effectively detects physical transition of the user and delivers device-generated notifications during these transitions. An IPhone is augmented with an application that detects physical activity transitions using the data acquired from a built-in LIS302DL tri-axial accelerometer. This work compares user receptivity to messages delivered during activity transitions and of those delivered at random by allowing the user to annotate how receptive they are to each message at time of delivery. The results suggest that context-aware notification mediation can be useful in reduction of the perceived burden of interruptions and, as a result, augmentation of wearables with this type of mediation would be valuable to the consumer.

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