Computer-Mediated Coordination of Interruption

S. Gievska (USA)


Man-machine interfaces, human interruptions, interruption taxonomy, computer-mediated coordination of interruptions


Any information presented to a user while she is working on a task could be considered interruption of her current endeavor. Given that interruptions frequently occur in today's computer systems, and given the relative scarcity of humans and their vulnerability to interruptions, it follows that user interfaces should be designed for, and evaluated in, realistic situations in context of interruptions. Employment of theoretically sound methods for managing the complexity of information displayed to a user and supporting graceful switching between tasks is especially critical for information-intensive and safety critical tasks. This research experimentally investigates the possibility of mediating interruptions based on a conceptual framework for computer-mediated coordination of human interruptions. As a basis for the framework a new Interruption Taxonomy is outlined to categorize a variety of traceable information needed to exhaustively describe the context space. An exploratory user study was conducted to calibrate the kind of benefit gained with the formulated interruption framework. The results have proved the hypothesized advantage of taxonomy-based coordination of interruption over traditional user interfaces with no coordination of interruption.

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