Technology-mediated interruption management

Sukeshini Grandhi, Quentin Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Previous research into providing interpersonal technology-mediated interruption management support has predominantly been conducted from a paradigmatic standpoint that focused on modeling the context of the person being interrupted (interruptee) such as his/her mental workload, activity and location as a means to identify opportune/inopportune moments for communication. However, the utility of this approach and the associated design implications are questioned by the interruption value evaluation paradigm, which holds that interpersonal interruption management decisions are often made by people assessing factors such as who the interruption is from and what it is about (the relational context). To assess the validity of the competing assumptions underlining these paradigms about everyday interpersonal interruption management, a field study of interruption management practices in everyday cell phone use was conducted. Analysis of 1201 incoming calls from our experience sampling method study of cell phone use shows that "who" is calling is used most of the time (87.4%) by individuals to make deliberate call handling decisions (N=834), in contrast to the interruptee's current local social (34.9%) or cognitive (43%) contexts. Building on these findings, we present a theoretical framework that aids in understanding the design space of interruption management tools that focus on reducing uncertainty of the interruption context to improve interruption management decisions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)288-306
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Human Computer Studies
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • General Engineering
  • Education
  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Hardware and Architecture


  • Availability
  • Communication
  • Design
  • Interruptibility
  • Interruption
  • Management
  • Mobile
  • Phones


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