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Reducing end-of-conversation interruptions in instant messaging applications

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000124921D
Original Publication Date: 2005-May-13
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-May-13
Document File: 2 page(s) / 20K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

Disclosed is a method to allow users of instant messaging (IM) applications to enable a list of common IM conversation enders (to which they can add others that are idiosyncratic to people they have IM conversations with, as they encounter them). If someone sends a phrase that is on the list, the receiver's IM suppresses the alerts that would otherwise interrupt the user on the receiving end.

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Reducing end-of-conversation interruptions in instant messaging applications

Instant messaging (IM) systems (such as SameTime) are widely used. A strong part of the appeal of these systems is the ability for the person initiating an IM conversation to rapidly get the attention of the person with whom the first person wants to converse. Depending on the settings chosen by the second party in the conversation, the system can engage in a variety of ways to attract the second party's attention, including audio tones, blinking buttons or icons in the GUI, or bringing the IM client into focus on the second party's screen. This ability to attract the attention of the second party is valuable at the beginning of an IM conversation, but it can lead to valueless interruptions as the parties involved in the IM session end their conversation.

Here is an example of a valueless interruption at the end of a conversation:

Party 1: Hey, you there?

Party 2: Yes.

Party 1: Will you have the presentation ready for the meeting this afternoon, or do you need me to help?

Party 2: Thanks for asking, but everything's under control.

At this point in time, Party 2 closes the IM window to get back to work on the presentation. A few seconds later, the IM client starts alerting Party 2. Party 2 debates whether or not to bring up the IM window since there's a very high probability that it will just be some sort of converstion ender, but there is a possibility that Party 1 has continued the conversation in some unexpected way. So Party 2 brings up the IM window, only to see the following:

Party 1: You're welcome!

There is no conversation to continue, so Party 2 has to accept the fact that there has been an unnecessary work interruption (some people are more sensitive to this than others), closes the IM window again, and gets back to the presentation.

The problem solved by this invention is a way to allow one party to send this type of end-of-conversation phrase (which people sometimes feel compelled to do) without having it lead to an unnecessary interruption of the o...