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Adaptive selection of notification method for use by Instant Messaging Clients

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000202293D
Publication Date: 2010-Dec-13
Document File: 3 page(s) / 87K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database


A program is disclosed that allows instant messaging applications to adaptively notify users of incoming messages in such a way as to minimise interruptions to the user, while ensuring that the user is aware of incoming messages. If the user fails to respond to incoming messages, they are notified of further messages in gradually less intrusive ways up to a point where they are no longer notified of new incoming messages. As they begin to respond to instant messages, further notifications are made more obvious in order to ensure prompt response.

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This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 53% of the total text.

Page 01 of 3

Adaptive selection of notification method for use by Instant Messaging Clients

Instant Messaging (IM) applications allow for real-time "on-demand" communication between users. Users do not normally keep their instant messaging clients running in the foreground, so these applications need to be able to notify users of new incoming instant messages.

    Most IM clients allow users to select how they should be notified of incoming instant messages. For example, the IM window can jump to the foreground and get "focus" when a new message arrives, the window's taskbar icon can be made to flash, a sound can be played, or a notification icon can be shown in the desktop's "system tray" area.

    While this allows for a level of customisation, it does not take account of the fact that users may want to be notified in different ways at different times. When giving a presentation or working on a task requiring intense concentration, a user may not want any notification of incoming messages. In other cases, they may want to know that messages are waiting, but may not want to have the IM window displayed on screen immediately. At different times, they may want new messages displayed immediately to allow them to respond at once.

    To avoid unwanted interruptions, users should select an appropriate notification mechanism before starting work on a task. In reality few do. The result is commonly seen - IM windows pop up and are repeatedly minimised during presentations. Users try to ignore flashing IM taskbar icons while concentrating on complex tasks, but in practice they find it hard to do so, and their overall productivity is reduced.

    Disclosed is a program which resolves the problem of persistently inappropriate IM notifications by adapting the notification method used to alert users of incoming IMs based on actions taken in response to recent IMs and based on the type of window which currently has focus on the user's desktop.

    This program removes the requirement for users to manually set their preferred IM notification method before starting work on a task, and ensures that they are not persistently interrupted by IM notifications.

Page 02 of 3

Figure 1: Decision chart used to determine the notification mechanism for new IMs

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