The F@ Framework For Designing Awareness Mechanisms in Instant Messaging

Minh Hong Tran, Yun Yang, Gitesh Raikundalia


This paper presents our research on awareness support in Instant Messaging (IM). The paper starts with a brief overview of an empirical study of IM, using an online survey and face-to-face interviews to identify user needs for awareness support. The study identified a need for supporting four aspects of awareness—awareness of multiple concurrent conversations, conversational awareness, presence awareness of a group conversation, and visibility of moment-to-moment listeners and viewers. Based on the empirical study and existing research on awareness, we have developed the F@ (read as “fat”) framework of awareness. F@ comprises of an abstract level and a concrete level. The former level includes an in-depth description of various awareness aspects in IM, whilst the latter level utilises temporal logic to formalise fundamental time-related awareness aspects. F@ helps developers gain a better understanding of awareness and thereby design usable mechanisms to support awareness. Applying F@, we have designed several mechanisms to support various aspect of awareness in IM.


OZCHI; HCI; awareness support; empirical; framework

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ISSN: Online: 1326-2238 Hard copy: 1449-8618
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