Robert DeLine and Chris Parnin
Developers, like all modern knowledge workers, are frequently interrupted and blocked in their tasks. In this paper we present a contextual inquiry into developers’ current strategies for resuming interrupted tasks and investigate the effect of automated
cues on improving task resumption. We surveyed 371 programmers on the nature of their tasks, interruptions, task suspension and resumption strategies and found that they rely heavily on note-taking across several types of media. We then ran a controlled lab study to compare the effects of two different automated cues to note taking when resuming
interrupted programming tasks. The two cues differed in (1) whether activities were summarized in aggregate or presented chronologically and (2) whether activities were presented as program symbols or as code snippets. Both cues performed well: developers using either cue completed their tasks with twice the success rate as those using note-taking alone. Despite the similar performance of the cues, developers strongly preferred the cue that presents activities chronologically as code snippets.
In CHI '10: Proceedings of the 28th international conference on Human factors in computing systems
Publisher Association for Computing Machinery, Inc.
Copyright © 2007 by the Association for Computing Machinery, Inc. Permission to make digital or hard copies of part or all of this work for personal or classroom use is granted without fee provided that copies are not made or distributed for profit or commercial advantage and that copies bear this notice and the full citation on the first page. Copyrights for components of this work owned by others than ACM must be honored. Abstracting with credit is permitted. To copy otherwise, to republish, to post on servers, or to redistribute to lists, requires prior specific permission and/or a fee. Request permissions from Publications Dept, ACM Inc., fax +1 (212) 869-0481, or email@example.com. The definitive version of this paper can be found at ACM’s Digital Library --http://www.acm.org/dl/.