My Phone and Me: Understanding People’s Receptivity to Mobile Notifications

Abhinav Mehrotra, Veljko Pejovic, Jo Vermeulen, Robert Hendley, Mirco Musolesi
Presented by
Abhinav Mehrotra

In Proceedings of CHI 2016: The ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, San Jose, CA, US, May 7–12, 2016, 12 pages.
[~23% acceptance; 2300 submissions]


Notifications are extremely beneficial to users, but they often demand their attention at inappropriate moments. In this paper we present an in-situ study of mobile interruptibility focusing on the effect of cognitive and physical factors on the response time and the disruption perceived from a notification. Through a mixed method of automated smartphone logging and experience sampling we collected 10372 in-the- wild notifications and 474 questionnaire responses on notification perception from 20 users. We found that the response time and the perceived disruption from a notification can be influenced by its presentation, alert type, sender-recipient relationship as well as the type, completion level and complexity of the task in which the user is engaged. We found that even a notification that contains important or useful content can cause disruption. Finally, we observe the substantial role of the psychological traits of the individuals on the response time and the disruption perceived from a notification.