Designing for user attention: A method for supporting unobtrusive routine tasks

M. Gil, E. Serral Asensio, P. Valderas, V. Pelechano et al.:
"Designing for user attention: A method for supporting unobtrusive routine tasks";
Science of Computer Programming,78(2013).

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The automation of user routine tasks is one of the most important challenges in the development of Ambient Intelligence systems. However, this automation may be annoying since some tasks may grab users attention in inappropriate situations. Since user attention is a valuable resource, task automation must behave in a considerate manner demanding user attention only when it is required. To address this issue, this work presents a systematic method for supporting the design and automation of unobtrusive routine tasks that can adjust their obtrusiveness level at runtime according to the user attentional resources and context. This method proposes to design the routine tasks that the system must carry out and how they must interact with users in terms of obtrusiveness. The method also provides a software infrastructure that makes the execution of the tasks at the appropriate obtrusiveness degree a reality. Finally, the system has been validated by means of usefulness and performance tests and a practical case study that demonstrates the correctness and applicability of our approach without compromising system performance.