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Email Break: Nicotine for Email Distraction

E0c4494e84ac119f55cd8d7c2ebb47d4?s=47 Hsiaolin Hsieh
February 17, 2013

Email Break: Nicotine for Email Distraction

Project 1 presentation for Calming Technology.


Hsiaolin Hsieh

February 17, 2013


  1. Email Break Nicotine for Email Distraction Hsiaolin, Maria, Tony

  2. Stress Model "out of control" distraction • follow email links

    • chase notifications in other tabs • open another tab to initiate behavior • "feeling distracted" • frustration • overwhelm • guilt • self criticism Behavior Emotion Cognition self- awareness stress occurs when....
  3. The stressor we're addressing... frustration and guilt associated with lengthy

    out-of control distractions during email use. The calmer is a short, controlled and delightful distraction (a "break"), which they will experience when they voluntarily press on a button.
  4. Our prototype 3 buttons; each is 30 seconds of a

    controlled break
  5. Featured content PLAY RELAX LEARN

  6. Trial Design Phases • Phase 1: "Take a Break" button;

    N=19; 15 users met criteria • Phase 2: "Play," "Relax," "Learn" buttons; N= 31; 19 users met criteria Design: • A contextualized invitation email with a link to the mockup • A post-test survey
  7. The main questions we asked... 1. What were the qualities

    of the controlled distraction "dose" needed to prevent lengthy distractions? 2. Did people think this concept was effective?
  8. specific emotions of distraction (N=19) result #1

  9. people prefer to play (N=19) N = 31 result #2

  10. polarized reaction toward content (N=19) result #3

  11. ...but want to be surprised (N=19) result #4

  12. play shifted energy levels (N=13) average=2.18 average=2.73 result #5 Before

  13. mixed feelings about effectiveness (N=19, multiple choices) result #6 "Unsure.

    May make me more distracted or more productive" ~ anonymous user Response N of responses It would have no effect 6 It would make me more distracted 5 It would prevent lengthier distractions 5 It would give me a positive boost 5 Total responses 21
  14. our users kind of liked it (N=19) result #7

  15. Summary & next steps • content curation is very important

    ◦ find the balance between surprise and personalization (maybe a pandora-like function for adaptive content) • how close does the controlled distraction need to be to the real distraction? (i.e., nicotine for cigarettes) • test in the email ecosystem ◦ measure whether it prevents more lengthy distraction behaviors or relieves negative emotions associated with distraction
  16. Main takeaway PLAY Short controlled breaks may help prevent lengthier

    distractions, but their effectiveness depends on the personalized content of the "distraction dose." prototype available at Hsiaolin: @hsiaolinh Maria: @mjmolfi Tony: @imtonyjin
  17. list of trial results 1. specific negative emotions associated with

    distraction 2. people prefer to play 3. bipolar reaction toward content 4. people want to be surprised 5. play shifted energy levels (other conditions did not) 6. mixed feelings about effectiveness 7. our users kind of liked it
  18. Appendix

  19. user research • survey available • walk throughs and

    in person interviews may be better than survey ◦ survey has the advantage of collecting large amount of anonymous data (be weary of repeated users!) "email is the distraction." "true relaxation would not require more screen time." "excited to find out what was behind the buttons. getting a small break, esp. bc it's clipped in short periods of time. I don't feel guilty clicking on it at all, and the reminder is great! so I don't trail off and go to other websites" "I really like the "stumble- upon" factor"
  20. design process • original POV created a major speed bump

    • lead us to opt-in "Take a break" breathe in and hold... take a break 1 2
  21. Earlier trials and results • Earliest trial: speed bumps, very

    negative reaction from users --> pivoted to • Phase 1: "Take a Break" button; N=19; 15 users met criteria; results: ◦ people wanted varied forms of content: educational and relaxing ◦ generally positive feedback (still bipolar reactions) ◦ needed to fine tune the feeling of it being a "controlled" break