Monday, June 26, 2006

Getting Your Attention

Last year, I read an article in the New York Times Magazine about how we focus (or unfocus) our attention while working on computers. It's a fascinating article and I urge you to read it. Some highlights:
  • A study found that employees could work on a project for 11 minutes before being interrupted; it would take approximately 25 minutes to get back to the original project.
  • Another study found that employees have an average of 8 windows open at one time and spend about 20 seconds looking at one window before moving to another.
  • A subsequent study looked at using a larger screen (15" vs. 42"). They found that tasks were completed between 10%-44% more quickly and they were less taxing. "The clearer the screen, the calmer your mind."
  • Researchers are doing experiments, trying to figure out if a computer can determine a user's "busy state." If they are busy, the computer stores small interruptions until later. With a little artificial intelligence, software might be able to predict when you will be free, allowing others to contact you when you might be less busy and more open to interruptions.

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