Supporting Interruption Management Through Informative Tactile and Peripheral Visual Cues Conference Paper uri icon


  • Operators in data-rich event-driven domains need to be supported in effectively allocating their limited attentional resources to cope with numerous competing task demands and frequent interruptions. One prerequisite for achieving this goal is to provide operators with information that allows them to make informed decisions about, and before, (re)orienting their attentional focus. This study examined the effectiveness of using informative peripheral visual and tactile cues for this purpose. 30 participants performed a continuous visual task. Occasionally, they were presented with a peripheral visual or tactile cue that indicated the need to perform a competing visual task. The location, frequency, and duration of the interruption cues reflected the type, importance, and likely duration, respectively, of the interrupting task. The findings from this study show that the informative cues were detected and interpreted reliably. Information about the importance (rather than duration) of the task was used by participants to decide whether to switch attention. Failure to switch attention was explained to some extent by the misinterpretation of the cues. The findings from this research can inform the design of more effective notification systems for a variety of complex event-driven domains, such as aviation, medicine, or military operations.

author list (cited authors)

  • Hameed, S., Ferris, T., Jayaraman, S., & Sarter, N.

citation count

  • 5

publication date

  • October 2006