Rahul Nair







Level of Interest function
Counter activity
Dispatcher's rescue
Everywhere display
Less is Moore



Kimura:Office of the future

The Kimura project uses peripheral displays to allow users to extend their workspace and better manage context. We are now moving away from merely managing views of a users desktop to supporting the higher level notion of activity.

My masters research project was a medium term user study of task management strategies. This was part of an activity based computing initiative that was associated with Dr. Elizabeth Mynatt and the Kimura:Office of the Future project. I wrote and installed software on the subjects machine that would track their activities (web pages, documents, emails, window activity, etc...) for a period of two weeks. I also used an intelligent, adaptive experience sampling technique to periodically ask the subjects what task they were working on. At the end of the two weeks I conducted a semi structured interview to learn about the tasks that the subjects had been working on as well as their opinions on how activities should be packaged and presented. Our data is currently being analyzed using various data mining algorithms to see if we can find any patterns in the activity.

The research was supervised by Dr. Elizabeth Mynatt and Dr. Blair MacIntyre of the College of Computing in association with Dr. Gregory Corso of the School of Psychology. It is funded by the NSF, Sun Microsystems and Ricoh Innovations.

Nair, R., Voida, S. and Mynatt, E.D. "Frequency-based detection of task switches". In Proceedings of the 19th British HCI Group Annual Conference (HCI 2005; Edinburgh, Scotland). Springer-Verlag (2005), Vol 2. 94-99.

HCI Masters project presentation


  • Designing and implementing a study to observe users' task management strategies
  • Protocol design, user research, iterative UI design, human subject testing and data analysis
  • Engineering tasks included writing window tracking software, using Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) to log activity in the Microsoft Office suite, instrumenting the Pine email application to log activity and building adaptive software to detect task changes.
  • Conversion of the Kimura desktop system from the Windows platform to the Mac OS X platform to run user tests.
  • Implementing an eyegaze tracking system in an experiment to test if users are noticing peripheral changes.

Kimura project website