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Modeling Human Behavior for Smart Notification Management in the Context of Ubiquitous Computers

Notifications are a core function of current mobile devices. They inform users about a variety of events, such as the arrival of a message, a new comment on social network posts or the availability of an application update. Notifications are the main mechanisms to proactively communicate with the user. A core problem with notifications is that users tend to drop their current task to check the notification instead. Studies by Iqbal et al. and Mark et al. show that information workers engage less in opportunistic email checking, are less multitasking, spend more consecutive time on tasks, and are less stressed, when disabling email notifications at work. However, users value notifications because they provide passive awareness. As the number of “smart” devices that are able to notify users is increasing, for example with the recent widespread availability of smartwatches, negative effects caused by notifications are multiplying. This project aims to develop a “device usage model” and “disruption model” in order to notify users in a meaningful way.