How important is important interruption?

Few days a ago we meet Ms. Sukeshini Grandhi a PhD candidate and currently doing an intern for Nielsen Norman group, yeah the usability guru Jacob Nielsen, she was at our campus. Her work seems to be fascinating, she expressed her current passion, working on personal notification system (something like that) it is more or less like you don’t want to get bothered unless it is important. It is interesting, why, I get stupid calls from banks, vendors etc which actually bother my work.

How many phone calls did you receive which was actually important or felt it was important?
Most Managers become inefficient, and this is one of the factors, because of intrusion, interruption in work and so on.. Why not the people who work under him/her are more efficient. Their work is focussed, only when problem arise then need to notify the manager.

So here is a system Which I suggest to Ms Sukeshini Grandhi on the next generation Mobile phones and gadgets which will ensure that, you don’t get distrubed unless you need to hear what is important ( this is my wild Imagination, I am sure you can come up with something better).

something like a spam list for your email, you will have one for your hitech gadgets. Your registed users can interrupt your work, spam list users are handled by your mobile phone’s artifical intelligent voice interactive software (tell yours caller that you are busy, leave the number and the message will get back to you shortly), well all information are stored locally. Few exception or hack which is purposefully made for the spammers to reach you, they need to make a minumum of five calls to reach you. (This is going to be tough on spammers who would not like to try and burn their pockets), Even been thinking when at workplace, your gadget set on to a mounting stand would smartly recharge if necessary or update files from server and also that it knows you are at work and you don’t like to get disturbed. Only when important call arrives it gives you a ring

Why in the first place do we need keys for our gadgets why not just touch screens, view a large video, type things like you find one on the tablet PC or handheld devices (PDAs).
Voice recognition software has to play a major role, currently some mobile phones of Nokia has bare minimal voice recognition software so that you can use for voice dial, I think Bill Gates is on to this, his team is currently focussing on to the Voice recognition software.
Well the future seems to be interesting as more and more devices are converging in to one
Like Mobile phones currently plays FM radio, MP3 songs (ipod feature), Camera. What could the next thing “Voice recognition” and noftification when needed

Well I am looking forward for Ms. Sukenshini Grandhi to reply and have herself a blog so we all could interact.

Note: for those who want see her works, here is the link
Her Eyetracking project
click here

Thanks to Rajendran, You could even see Ms Sukeshini Grandhi (right) with Radha Rajendran.


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2 thoughts on “How important is important interruption?

  1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on interruptions and I am thrilled to have triggered them. Before I say anything, I would like clarify that I used to do my internship with NNg but now I am back at school!
    Yes a giving control to the user on when he/she has to be interrupted is one of the many interruptions management techniques that researchers are working on. If you think about it this strategy is already very crudely implemented in the design of current cell phones.
    *Turn/turn off: the crudest off all. If you don’t want to be interrupted you turn it off!
    *Set to “silent” mode: you get calls but you are not aware or notified of them until you decide to peek in!
    *Set up Voicemail: You go back listen to what people have said and then respond according to your priority

    Of course what researchers (and lowly PhD Students like me) are looking at is how this can be done more intelligently so that only the important or desired ones go into a “queue” of some kind while the rest come through to the user. Her eis a classic case on user control versus agent mediation. The issues are what criteria should be used in deciding if a call has to be blocked or sent through. Further, how do we match it with the receiver’s context- in terms of the activity/task they are doing, cognitive/mood levels, place they are in and people they are with. Yes it may seem like a “wild imagination” but even Harry Potter’s “Marauder’s map” (ActiveCampus UCSD, SmartCampus NJIT) and “Weasely’s clock” ( Microsoft) have not remained as Rowling’s mere creative writing but are working prototypes now. So I guess we have hope for all our wild dreams! You have interesting ideas and yes someday I hope we can get there…
    No I don’t have a blog, and I am not sure I am motivated enough to publicize my opinions and reflections on life/work yet. But please feel free to contact me on email if you wish to.


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