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Recovering from interruptions

Hospital wards are busy places, and medical professionals conducting routine tasks, such as setting up an infusion pump, are likely to find themselves interrupted at some point in the sequence. We have been investigating ways to reduce cognitive slips caused by interruptions, such as exploring the value of encouraging users to stop and think before resuming a task following an interruption. Findings suggest that the process of retracing previously achieved sub-goals can help with resuming a task. Ways of encouraging people to take time before resuming their task rather than jumping straight back in have been tested. In addition to demonstrating that people make speed/accuracy tradeoffs when resuming after an interruption, we are also investigating whether we can predict from eye-movement data if someone will make an error. Ultimately, as this work matures it will allow us to make predictions about device designs that better support error avoidance.

Back, J., Brumby, D. P., Cox, A. L. (2010). Locked-out: Investigating the effectiveness of system lockouts to reduce errors in routine tasks. Proceedings of the 28th international conference extended abstracts on human factors in computing systems, CHI EA ’10. ( pp.3775-3780). New York, NY: ACM Press. Author URL Publisher URL