Barriers to Engagement with a Personal Informatics Productivity Tool

Emily Collins, Anna Cox, Jon Bird, C Cornish-Trestrail
in OzCHI'14, Conference paper (text), Sydney, Australia


Technology helps us get work done but also provides many distractions. As a result, seemingly unproductive activities such as social networking sites (SNS) cause considerable stress. This paper reports a series of studies into whether personal informatics (PI) tools for productivity can make people more aware of their SNS usage and encourage behaviour change. The first two studies took an in-the-wild approach, encouraging students to use a PI tool, RescueTime, to improve their estimations of how much time they spent using SNS, in line with research that had used this technique to reduce participants' stress. However, participants simply did not engage with RescueTime in the studies. A further interview study found that there are four barriers that inhibit engagement with this PI tool and reduce its potential to facilitate behaviour change. In particular, the way it presents data lacks: salience; contextual information; credibility; and action advice.