Living in the age of information overload, we have information flowing from various source, interrupting our primary task. Social network notification, text message or a spouse phone call can become interruption, distracting us from the primary task. But not every information leads to distraction. Only information that is not required in any given contextual state has a potential to distract us from his primary task, diverting our attention on to the source of distraction. Though it seems like this distractions are small, but it affect us in much deeper way. Distractions are tempting and we think that we can shift your attention from primary task and return back to it in couple of minutes. But once distracted, task redemption takes approximately 20 minutes.
Blocking information channel completely doesn’t really solves the problem. We need information related to our context at any given situation. Contextual information help us to focus interrupted for a longer stretch of time, enabling us to get our work done faster and with less cognitive load. Working in fragmented span of attention take more time to get the work done while it leave us with frustration affecting our mental health.
What is Limel
Limel is designed as a system that work ubiquitously around a user, blocking irrelevant information to help user focus more and not tempted by interruption. It filters out the undesirable incoming information so that user can focus on the primary task. The system works around digital life (computer, mobile phone and tablet) and around the physical working space . User have to define ‘Filters’ and create ‘Profiles’ based on Context (office, gym, bedtime, etc). The profile contains different filter based on the channel of information flow. Filters can be customise in order to receive the information precisely. The combination of such filters create a unique profile.
To understand the behaviour pattern, Ethnographic studies was conducted with a group of people working at Equilibrium Energy and a co-working place at Ahmedabad. Since interruptions are embedded in people’s daily routine, they failed to distinguish clearly between the primary task and interrupted activity. All the participants were shadowed and their activities were recorded and mapped.
Filters are based on channels (the medium of communication (information flow) e.g.: phone call, Facebook, email, etc)
All the filters are block oriented (i.e. they are structured in a way to block the information flow).
Profile is a set of filters defined by user based on his/her Context.
A profile can be activated manually or automatically. For automatic activation, profile is schedule on the basis of Time or Place. Examples:
1. (for time-based activation) Activate ‘Sleeping profile’ from 11:00 pm to 7:00 am everyday.
2. (for location-based profile) Activate ‘Work profile’ whenever I reach ‘office’.
3. (for dynamic context-based profile) Activates ‘Meeting profile’ whenever there is a meeting schedule in the calendar.
Each profile can be schedule as for how many hours will it be active. (if a profile is not pre-schedule and it gets active, it will be active for four hours and later it will notify the user asking to continue or discontinue)
A profile contains only one filter of a particular channel