Ambient Timer – Unobtrusively Reminding Users of Upcoming Tasks with Ambient Light

  • Heiko Müller
  • Anastasia Kazakova
  • Martin Pielot
  • Wilko Heuten
  • Susanne Boll
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 8117)


Daily office work is often a mix of concentrated desktop work and scheduled meetings and appointments. However, constantly checking the clock and alarming popups interrupt the flow of creative work as they require the user’s focused attention. We present Ambient Timer, an ambient light display designed to unobtrusively remind users of upcoming events. The light display - mounted around the monitor - is designed to slowly catch the user’s attention and raise awareness for an upcoming event while not distracting her from the primary creative task such as writing a paper. Our experiment compared established reminder techniques such as checking the clock or using popups against Ambient Timer in two different designs. One of these designs produced a reminder in which the participants felt well informed on the progress of time and experienced a better "flow" of work than with traditional reminders.


Ambient Light Display Reminder Interruptions User Studies 


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Copyright information

© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heiko Müller
    • 1
  • Anastasia Kazakova
    • 2
  • Martin Pielot
    • 3
  • Wilko Heuten
    • 1
  • Susanne Boll
    • 2
  1. 1.OFFIS – Institute for Information TechnologyOldenburgGermany
  2. 2.University of OldenburgGermany
  3. 3.Telefonica ResearchBarcelonaSpain

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