Context-based Automated Responses of Unavailability in Mobile Messaging
People are not always able to respond immediately to incoming messages on their mobile devices, either due to engagement in another task or simply because the moment is inconvenient for them. This delay in responding could affect social relationships, as there are often expectations associated with mobile messaging and people may experience a lingering pressure to attend to their messages. In this work, we investigate an approach for generating automated contextual responses on behalf of message recipients when they are not available to respond. We first identify several types of contextual information that can be obtained from a user’s smartphone and explore whether those can be used to explain unavailability. We then assess users’ perception of the usefulness of these sensor-based categories and their level of comfort with sharing such information through a Mechanical Turk survey study. Our results show emergent groups with varying preferences with regards to the usefulness and comfort in sharing two types of contextual information: user state and device state . Further, we also observed a strong influence of message context (i.e., message urgency and social tie strength) in users’ perceptions of these auto-generated messages. Our research provides understanding of users’ perceptions of sharing context through an autonomous agent that can help design and create effective approaches towards enabling communication awareness.