Publications

By Daniel Avrahami (Clear Search)

2018
Publication Details
  • DIS 2018
  • Jun 1, 2018

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Conversational agents stand to play an important role in supporting behavior change and well-being in many domains. With users able to interact with conversational agents through both text and voice, understanding how designing for these channels supports behavior change is important. To begin answering this question, we designed a conversational agent for the workplace that supports workers’ activity-journaling and self-learning through reflection. Our agent, named Robota, combines chat-based communication as a Slack Bot and voice interaction through a personal device using a custom Amazon Alexa Skill. Through a 3-week controlled deployment, we examine how voice-based and chat-based interaction affect workers’ reflection and support self-learning. We demonstrate that, while many current technical limitations exist, adding dedicated mobile voice interaction separate from the already busy chat modality may further enable users to step back and reflect on their work. We conclude with discussion of the implications of our findings to design of workplace self-tracking systems specifically and to behavior-change systems in general.
Publication Details
  • CHI 2018
  • Apr 21, 2018

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Effective communication of activities and progress in the workplace is crucial for the success of many modern organizations. In this paper, we extend current research on workplace communication and uncover opportunities for technology to support effective work activity reporting. We report on three studies: With a survey of 68 knowledge workers followed by 14 in-depth interviews, we investigated the perceived benefits of different types of progress reports and an array of challenges at three stages: Collection, Composition, and Delivery. We show an important interplay between written and face-to-face reporting, and highlight the importance of tailoring a report to its audience. We then present results from an analysis of 722 reports composed by 361 U.S.-based knowledge workers, looking at the influence of the audience on a report’s language. We conclude by discussing opportunities for future technologies to assist both employees and managers in collecting, interpreting, and reporting progress in the workplace.
Publication Details
  • IUI 2018
  • Mar 7, 2018

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Activity recognition is a core component of many intelligent and context-aware systems. In this paper, we present a solution for discreetly and unobtrusively recognizing common work activities above a work surface without using cameras. We demonstrate our approach, which utilizes an RF-radar sensor mounted under the work surface, in two work domains; recognizing work activities at a convenience-store counter (useful for post-hoc analytics) and recognizing common office deskwork activities (useful for real-time applications). We classify seven clerk activities with 94.9% accuracy using data collected in a lab environment, and recognize six common deskwork activities collected in real offices with 95.3% accuracy. We show that using multiple projections of RF signal leads to improved recognition accuracy. Finally, we show how smartwatches worn by users can be used to attribute an activity, recognized with the RF sensor, to a particular user in multi-user scenarios. We believe our solution can mitigate some of users’ privacy concerns associated with cameras and is useful for a wide range of intelligent systems.
2017
Publication Details
  • Fuji Xerox Technical Report
  • Oct 1, 2017

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モバイル技術の発展と日常生活における継続的なつながりは、仕事の進め方に大きく影響を与えている。センシング技術の活用は個人による使用事例が多くを占めているが、ワークプレイスはセンシング技術を活用するのに重要かつ適切な環境である。つまり、従業員が自分の追跡可能な端末を使ってセンシング技術を連携させることが可能である。本稿では、ワークプレイスにおける身体的、精神的、および社会的に良好な状態と生産性を向上させる技術について、2つの最新の調査結果と、行動を変える姿勢を維持 るための仕組みを報告する。次に、新しい作業の領域について簡単に議論する。
Publication Details
  • Communities & Technologies 2017
  • Jun 26, 2017

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Video conferencing is widely used to help deliver educational presentations, such as lectures or informational webinars, to a distributed audience. While individuals in a dyadic conversation may be able to use webcam streams to assess the engagement level of their interlocutor with some ease, as the size of the audience in a video conference setting increases, it becomes increasingly difficult to interpret how engaged the overall group may be. In this work, we use a mixed-methods approach to understand how presenters and attendees of online presentations use available cues to perceive and interpret audience behavior (such as how engaged the group is). Our results suggest that while webcams are seen as useful by presenters to increase audience visibility and encourage attention, audience members do not uniformly benefit from seeing others’ webcams; other interface cues such as chat may be more useful and informative engagement indicators for both parties. We conclude with design recommendations for future systems to improve what is sensed and presented.

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Work breaks can play an important role in the mental and physical well-being of workers and contribute positively to productivity. In this paper we explore the use of activity-, physiological-, and indoor-location sensing to promote mobility during work-breaks. While the popularity of devices and applications to promote physical activity is growing, prior research highlights important constraints when designing for the workplace. With these constraints in mind, we developed BreakSense, a mobile application that uses a Bluetooth beacon infrastructure, a smartphone and a smartwatch to encourage mobility during breaks with a game-like design. We discuss constraints imposed by design for work and the workplace, and highlight challenges associated with the use of noisy sensors and methods to overcome them. We then describe a short deployment of BreakSense within our lab that examined bound vs. unbound augmented breaks and how they affect users’ sense of completion and readiness to work.
2016
Publication Details
  • CHI 2016
  • May 7, 2016

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The negative effect of lapses during a behavior-change program has been shown to increase the risk of repeated lapses and, ultimately, program abandonment. In this paper, we examine the potential of system-driven lapse management -- supporting users through lapses as part of a behavior-change tool. We first review lessons from domains such as dieting and addiction research and discuss the design space of lapse management. We then explore the value of one approach to lapse management -- the use of "cheat points" as a way to encourage sustained participation. In an online study, we first examine interpretations of progress that was reached through using cheat points. We then present findings from a deployment of lapse management in a two-week field study with 30 participants. Our results demonstrate the potential of this approach to motivate and change users' behavior. We discuss important open questions for the design of future technology-mediated behavior change programs.

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Taking breaks from work is an essential and universal practice. In this paper, we extend current research on productivity in the workplace to consider the break habits of knowledge workers and explore opportunities of break logging for personal informatics. We report on three studies. Through a survey of 147 U.S.-based knowledge workers, we investigate what activities respondents consider to be breaks from work, and offer an understanding of the benefit workers desire when they take breaks. We then present results from a two-week in-situ diary study with 28 participants in the U.S. who logged 800 breaks, offering insights into the effect of work breaks on productivity. We finally explore the space of information visualization of work breaks and productivity in a third study. We conclude with a discussion of implications for break recommendation systems, availability and interuptibility research, and the quantified workplace.
Publication Details
  • Proceedings of CSCW 2016
  • Feb 27, 2016

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This paper presents a detailed examination of factors that affect perceptions of, and attitudes towards multitasking in dyadic video conferencing. We first report findings from interviews with 15 professional users of videoconferencing. We then report results from a controlled online experiment with 397 participants based in the United States. Our results show that the technology used for multitasking has a significant effect on others' assumptions of what secondary activity the multitasker is likely engaged in, and that this assumed activity in turn affects evaluations of politeness and appropriateness. We also describe how different layouts of the video conferencing UI may lead to better or worse ratings of engagement and in turn ratings of polite or impolite behavior. We then propose a model that captures our results and use the model to discuss implications for behavior and for the design of video communication tools.
2015

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New technology comes about in a number of different ways. It may come from advances in scientific research, through new combinations of existing technology, or by simply from imagining what might be possible in the future. This video describes the evolution of Tabletop Telepresence, a system for remote collaboration through desktop videoconferencing combined with a digital desk. Tabletop Telepresence provides a means to share paper documents between remote desktops, interact with documents and request services (such as translation), and communicate with a remote person through a teleconference. It was made possible by combining advances in camera/projector technology that enable a fully functional digital desk, embodied telepresence in video conferencing and concept art that imagines future workstyles.
Publication Details
  • MobileHCI 2015
  • Aug 24, 2015

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In this paper we report findings from two user studies that explore the problem of establishing common viewpoint in the context of a wearable telepresence system. In our first study, we assessed the ability of a local person (the guide) to identify the view orientation of the remote person by looking at the physical pose of the telepresence device. In the follow-up study, we explored visual feedback methods for communicating the relative viewpoints of the remote user and the guide via a head-mounted display. Our results show that actively observing the pose of the device is useful for viewpoint estimation. However, in the case of telepresence devices without physical directional affordances, a live video feed may yield comparable results. Lastly, more abstract visualizations lead to significantly longer recognition times, but may be necessary in more complex environments.
Publication Details
  • Presented in "Everyday Telepresence" workshop at CHI 2015
  • Apr 18, 2015

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As video-mediated communication reaches broad adoption, improving immersion and social interaction are important areas of focus in the design of tools for exploration and work-based communication. Here we present three threads of research focused on developing new ways of enabling exploration of a remote environment and interacting with the people and artifacts therein.
Publication Details
  • Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
  • Apr 18, 2015

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Edge targets, such as buttons or menus along the edge of a screen, are known to afford fast acquisition performance in desktop mousing environments. As the popularity of touch based devices continues to grow, understanding the affordances of edge targets on touchscreen is needed. This paper describes results from two controlled experiments that examine in detail the effect of edge targets on performance in touch devices. Our results shows that on touch devices, a target's proximity to the edge has a significant negative effect on reaction time. We examine the effect in detail and explore mitigating factors. We discuss potential explanations for the effect and propose implications for the design of efficient interfaces for touch devices.