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Measuring the effects of interruptions on task performance in the user interface

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3 Author(s)
B. P. Bailey ; Dept. of Comput. Sci. & Eng., Minnesota Univ., Minneapolis, MN, USA ; J. A. Konstan ; J. V. Carlis

As users continue offloading more control and responsibility to the computer, coordinating the asynchronous interactions between the user and computer is becoming increasingly important. Without proper coordination, an application attempting to gain the user's attention risks interrupting the user in the midst of performing another task. To justify why an application should avoid interrupting the user whenever possible, we designed an experiment measuring the disruptive effect of an interruption on a user's task performance. The experiment utilized six Web-based task categories and two categories of interruption tasks. The results of the experiment demonstrate that: (i) a user performs slower on an interrupted task than a non-interrupted task, (ii) the disruptive effect of an interruption differs as a function of the task category, and (iii) different interruption tasks cause similar disruptive effects on task performance. These results empirically validate the need to better coordinate user interactions among applications that are competing for the user's attention

Published in:

Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, 2000 IEEE International Conference on  (Volume:2 )

Date of Conference:

2000