“Don’t Bother Me. I’m Socializing!”

A Breakpoint-Based Smartphone Notification System


Smartphone notifications provide application-specific information in real-time, but could distract users from in-person social interactions when delivered at inopportune moments. We explore breakpoint-based notification management, in which the smartphone defers notifications until an opportune moment. With a video survey where participants selected appropriate moments for notifications from a video-recorded social interaction, we identify four breakpoint types: long silence, a user leaving the table, others using smartphones, and a user left alone. We introduce a Social Context-Aware smartphone Notification system, SCAN, that uses built-in sensors to detect social context and identifies breakpoints to defer smartphone notifications until a breakpoint. We conducted a controlled study with ten friend groups who had SCAN installed on their smartphones while dining at a restaurant. Results show that SCAN accurately detects breakpoints (precision=92.0%, recall=82.5%), and reduces notification interruptions by 54.1%. Most participants reported that SCAN helped them to focus better on in-person social interaction and found selected breakpoints appropriate.


“Don’t Bother Me. I’m Socializing!”: A Breakpoint-Based Smartphone Notification System
Chunjong Park, Junsung Lim, Juho Kim, Sung-Ju Lee, and Dongman Lee
Proceedings of ACM CSCW 2017, Portland, OR, February 2017.


Chunjong Park

University of Washington

Junsung Lim


Juho Kim


Sung-Ju Lee


Dongman Lee



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