Awareness beyond the desktop: Exploring attention and distraction with a projected peripheral-vision display

Jeremy Birnholtz*, Lindsay Reynolds, Eli Luxenberg, Carl Gutwin, Maryam Mustafa

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

22 Scopus citations


The initiation of interaction in face-to-face settings is often a gradual negotiation process that takes place in a rich context of awareness and social signals. This gradual approach to interaction is missing from most online messaging systems, however, and users often have no idea when others are paying attention to them or when they are about to be interrupted. One reason for this limitation is that few systems have considered the role of peripheral perception in attracting and directing interpersonal attention in face-to-face interaction. We believed that a display exploiting people's peripheral vision could capitalize on natural human attention-management behavior. To test the value of this technique, we compared a peripheral-vision awareness display with an on-screen IM-style system. We expected that people would notice more information from the larger peripheral display, which they did. Moreover, they did so while attending less often to the peripheral display. Our study suggests that peripheral-vision awareness displays may be able to improve attention and awareness management for distributed groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings - Graphics Interface 2010
Number of pages8
StatePublished - Aug 20 2010
Event36th Graphics Interface Conference, GI 2010 - Ottawa, ON, Canada
Duration: May 31 2010Jun 2 2010

Publication series

NameProceedings - Graphics Interface
ISSN (Print)0713-5424


Other36th Graphics Interface Conference, GI 2010
CityOttawa, ON


  • Awareness
  • Chat
  • Distributed workgroups
  • Instant messaging
  • Peripheral displays

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


Dive into the research topics of 'Awareness beyond the desktop: Exploring attention and distraction with a projected peripheral-vision display'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this