A Framework for Context-Sensitive Coordination of Human Interruptions in Human-Computer Interaction

  • Sonja Gievska
  • John Sibert
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 3196)


Recent trends in software development directed toward intelligence, distribution, and mobility need to be followed by an increased sophistication in user interface design. Employment of theoretically sound methods for managing and coordinating complex information, and supporting graceful switching between tasks is especially critical for information-intensive and safety-critical tasks. This paper presents a 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 is underway to calibrate the kind of benefit gained with the formulated Interruption Model. The expressiveness of the proposed Interruption Model is demonstrated by concretizing the general approach using the particularities of the selected problem domain. The initial results have shown that taxonomy-based coordination of interruption resulted in statistically significant improvement of the primary task resumption time.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Bailey, B.P., Konstan, J.A., Carlis, J.V.: The effects of interruptions on task performance, annoyance, and anxiety in the user interface. In: Proc. of Human-Computer Interaction – INTERACT 2001, pp. 593–601. IOS Press, Amsterdam (2001)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Cellier, J.-M., Eyrolle, H.: Interference between switched tasks. Ergonomics 35(1), 25–36 (1992)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Cutrell, E.B., Czerwinski, M., Horvitz, E.: Effects of instant messaging interruptions on computing tasks. In: Proc. of Conference on Human factors in computing systems - CHI 2000, pp. 99–100. ACM Press, New York (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Horvitz, E., Jacobs, A., Hove, D.: Attention-sensitive alerting. In: Proc. of UAI 1999, pp. 305–313. ACM Press, New York (1999)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Kirmeyer, S.: Coping with competing demands: Interruption and the type a pattern. Journal of Applied Psychology 73(4), 621–629 (1988)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Malone, T., Crowston, K.: The interdisciplinary study of coordination. ACM Computing Surveys 26(1), 87–119 (1994)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Monk, C.A., Boehm-Davis, D.A., Trafton, J.G.: The attentional costs of interrupting task performance at various stages. In: Proc. of 46th Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, pp. 1824–1828. HFES (2002)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sonja Gievska
    • 1
  • John Sibert
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceThe George Washington UniversityWashington D.C.USA

Personalised recommendations