Behaviours and Preferences when Coordinating Mediated Interruptions: Social and System influence
There is a growing interest in technologies for supporting individuals to manage their accessibility for interruptions. The applicability of these technologies is likely to be influenced by social relationships between people. This paper describes an experiment that examines interplay between a working relationship of an interruptor and an interruptee and two different system approaches to handle interruptions. We tested how system behaviour and the social relationship between the actors influence their interruption behaviours. Our results are consistent with prior research on the importance of relational benefit to understanding interruption. We found that interruptors were far more likely to be considerate of interruptees' activities, when they both shared a common goal. We have extended those findings by showing that interruptees display similar behaviours to those presented by interruptors. The results regarding the systems’ influence show a clear trend towards the positive effect of the Automatic system on peoples’ interruption behaviours which is based on: (i) visible interruption costs, (ii) social tension and (iii) system preference. We think that the results of this experiment translated into design implications can prove helpful in informing the design of computer–mediated solutions supporting interruption handling.