[Standards-JIG] JEP-0085: suggested triggers

Ian Paterson ian.paterson at clientside.co.uk
Thu Sep 8 12:01:05 CDT 2005


To summarise, the question is: should 'paused' be sent if the user
"starts interacting with another chat interface or application", or
should the client wait for 5 seconds of inactivity.

> Ian Paterson maintains that it is important for the user to know
> if another chat participant has switched focus, even for less 
> than the suggested paused timeout. This does not seem all 
> that useful to me (again, it's prospective notification)

If I think someone is composing a reply to me, then (if I'm not too
time-stressed), I wait instead of switching immediately to another
window to continue with whatever I was doing. If while composing the
other person is interrupted (by another chat window or a VoIP call or
whatever), I don't want to hang around waiting for the 5-second timeout
before I'm informed the person has paused (for an indefinite period). I
want to know now immediately, so *I* can decide (depending on how busy I
am) either to return to what I am doing until they finish composing the
message or to wait a little longer (they are not yet 'inactive' after
all, and if they start composing again I will know immediately, and if
they don't start composing again I know that immediately too).

Power (information) to the users.

I've been using JEP-0085 every day for 2 years now and have become
sensitive to the emotional 'politics' behind the various states: I don't
want the other person seeing I'm 'inactive' when I'm not (because
'inactive' means I'm not not paying attention, which is rude, and may
not even be true). But I don't mind if the other person thinks I'm
'paused' (because 'paused' means 'thinking carefully about what I'm
saying to you', which is good).

The paused state is good, it gives the other person *immediate*
information without any negative emotional connotations, and it is
immediately corrected if the user starts composing again.

Finally, the plain truth is that: *as soon as* I "start interacting with
another chat interface or application" I am paused. I'm not typing in
the input field anymore. True the pause might only last 2 seconds, but
the other person will be informed about the end of the pause immediately
too.

FYI, in practice most pauses only last about 2 seconds, however they
were triggered. But the instant feedback associated with toggling
between 'paused' and 'composing' helps to make IM chat a more dynamic
communication experience.

Thanks for your patience, that was much longer than I intended. :)

- Ian




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