Designing for Seamless Task Migration in MPUIs: Bridging Task-Disconnects

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Department of Computer Science, Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University

Today, the proliferation of mobile computing has changed the work environment forever. As a consequence, users are forced to orchestrate a complex interaction between multiple devices, moving data and information back and forth, to accomplish their tasks. Users trudge out USB key drives, remote desktop software, e-mail and network file storage in an attempt to mitigate this orchestration. We refer to this break from the task at hand as task-disconnect. Task-disconnect represents the break in continuity that occurs when a user attempts to accomplish his or her tasks using more than one device. Our objective is to study how software can bridge this task-disconnect, enabling users to seamlessly transition their tasks among their devices. We present the theory, definition, and discussion of task-disconnect; our approach towards bridging this disconnect; and our prototype application that was built to be used across the desktop computer and the Tablet PC platforms. We then describe our subjective evaluation to measure the effectiveness of the prototype in bridging the task-disconnect. We then conclude with the results and insights gained from our evaluation.

Human-computer interaction