PhD Seminar • Human-Computer Interaction — Systems for Guiding Work-Related AttentionExport this event to calendar

Tuesday, April 30, 2019 — 12:00 PM EDT

Alex Williams, PhD candidate
David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science

Part I: Guiding Attention between Home and the Workplace

Research has shown that productivity is mediated by an individual’s ability to detach from their work at the end of the day and reattach with it when they return the next day. In this paper we explore the extent to which structured dialogues, focused on individuals’ work-related tasks or emotions, can help them with the detachment and reattachment processes. Our inquiry is driven with SwitchBot, a conversational bot which engages with workers at the start and end of their work day. 

After preliminarily validating the design of a detachment and reattachment dialogue framework with 108 crowdworkers, we study SwitchBot’s use in-situ for 14 days with 34 information workers. We find that workers send fewer e-mails after work hours and spend a larger percentage of their first hour at work using productivity applications than they normally would when using SwitchBot. Further, we find that productivity gains were better sustained when conversations focused on work-related emotions. Our results suggest that conversational bots can be effective tools for aiding workplace detachment and reattachment and help people make successful use of their time on and off the job.

Part II: Guiding Attention for Programmers with On-the-Go Experiences

Research has given much attention to software and tools in support of enhancing programmers' productivity within their workspace. In this paper, we explore opportunities to help programmers make productive use of their time while away from their workspace. We interviewed 10 software engineers and conducted a survey with 78 software engineers to identify opportunities for supporting programmers on-the-go. 

Based on the interviews and survey, we introduce \textit{Mercury}, a system that guides programmers in making progress on-the-go with auto-generated microtasks based on their source code's current state. Studying Mercury with 20 full-time programmers, we highlight the strengths and shortcomings of the system and discuss directions for future work. Our findings have implications for the design of future software engineering tools that allow programmers to make progress on their work while away from their primary workstation.

Location 
DC - William G. Davis Computer Research Centre
2314
200 University Avenue West

Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1
Canada

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