Every day, millions of people set long-term goals, such as learning a skill, developing a habit, or completing a project. Yet, in our busy, time-crunched world, most have difficulty making progress towards these goals. Despite this lack of time, there are numerous moments in a day when people wait, such as waiting for the elevator or waiting for an instant message reply. These fleeting moments could instead be used for completing short, concrete microtasks towards accomplishing long-term goals.
In this talk, I will discuss the design, implementation, and evaluation of novel systems that enable wait-time productivity. First, WaitChatter enables wait-learning, by automatically detecting when a user is awaiting an instant message reply, and presenting foreign language vocabulary exercises during that time. Second, WaitSuite is a suite of systems that expand wait-learning to diverse kinds of waiting. Finally, Deadspace Finder automatically detects unused screen space for the subtle display of peripheral microtasks. Taken together, this work demonstrates that wait-time productivity is both feasible and more effective than traditional reminders, making meaningful use of time we didn’t know we had.
Thesis Advisor: Prof. Rob Miller
Thesis Committee: Profs. Pattie Maes, Victor Zue