I am extremely happy to announce our newest project, FlowLight, a traffic-light-like light for knowledge workers to reduce their interruptions at work, and makes them more productive! The research project, published with the title “Reducing Interruptions at Work: A Large-Scale Field Study of FlowLight”, was conducted in close collaboration with researchers at ABB. It was also awared with an Honorable Mention award.
Research by: Manuela Züger, Christopher Corley, André N. Meyer, Boyang Li, Thomas Fritz, David Shepherd, Vinay Augustine, Patrick Francis, Nicholas Kraft, Will Snipes
Update 2019: We are excited to announce that we licensed the FlowLight to Embrava. Embrava is an expert for creating productivity-improving hardware, such as availability lights that connect to Skype, Jabber, and the likes. They recently released the Embrava Flow, which enables the FlowLight for commercial use: Learn more here!
Reducing interruptions at the workplace
Various previous work has emphasized how bad constant interruptions and fragmentation of work is for knowledge workers’ productivity, the quality of their work, and also their motivation at work. When we were observing knowledge workers at their work in a previous study, we realized that signals, such as wearing headphones or closing their office door, were often used to visualize that they don’t want to be interrupted right now. However, this manual approach was often considered as quite cumbersome and not everybody was aware of these signs. Also, the long-term impact on teams and their work was unclear. This is why we developed the FlowLight, a physical traffic-light like LED combined with an automatic interruptibility measure based on computer interaction data.
In a large-scale and long-term field study with 449 participants from 12 different countries, we found, amongst other results, that the FlowLight reduced interruptions of participants by 46%, increased their awareness on the potential disruptiveness of interruptions, and most participants are still using it today!
These, and many other insights, can be found in detail in our publication to the CHI’17 conference (pre-print). Below, you find a video showcasing FlowLight:
This is a first step towards making knowledge workers more aware of, and reducing, interruptions at work. In the future, we plan to add extended computer interaction context and biometric sensing to improve FlowLight’s algorithm, to make it even more accurate.
Presentation & Demo at CHI’17
In case you are planning to attend the CHI’17 Conference in Denver next week, make sure to come to our presentation and learn much more about the FlowLight! The talk will take place on Monday, 9th 2017 at 11.30a to 12.50p.
In the media: Our work was also featured on The Telegraph, Wall Street Journal, GeekWire, NBC News, New Atlas, DigitalTrends, Business Standard, The New Yorker, New Scientist, TechXplore, MailOnline/DailyMail, ScienceDaily, The Times (UK), News For Everyone, rework.fm (Podcast), TheLadders, Evening Express, Yahoo News, India Today, PPP Focus, The Statesman, Radio Canada, LiveAtPC, Cantech Letter, Business Standard, Engineering 360, New Atlas, BT, Telengana Today, Le Matin (French), 20min.ch (German), Radio Energy (German), Die Presse (German), PresseText (German), Tages-Anzeiger (German) CnBeta (Chinese), PopMech (Russian), PcNews (Russian), Teknikan Maailma (Finnish), Utusan (Malaysian), Irish Examiner, Knowridge, CKNW Radio, Thrive Global, Tech.Rizlys, Appsforpcdaily.com, EurekAlert, Lancashire Post, MetroNews, user-experience-blog (DE), Corriere della Sierra (Spanish), Breaking News, UBC News, UBC Science, Sydöstran (Swedish), svt nyheter (Swedish), Sveriges Radio (Swedish) and many other blogs.
You can find out more about (or soon order) FlowLight on this website.
A few more impressions: