Writers Gonna Wait: The Effectiveness of Notifications to Initiate Aversive Action in Writing Procrastination

01/25/2021 ∙ by Chatchai Wangwiwattana, et al. ∙ 0

This paper evaluates the use of notifications to reduce aversive-task-procrastination by helping initiate action. Specifically, we focus on aversion to graded writing tasks. We evaluate software designs commonly used by behavior change applications, such as goal setting and action support systems. We conduct a two-phase control trial experiment with 21 college students tasked to write two 3000-word writing assignments (14 students fully completed the experiment). Participants use a customized text editor designed to continuously collect writing behavior. The results from the study reveal that notifications have minimal effect in encouraging users to get started. They can also increase negative effects on participants. Other techniques, such as eliminating distraction and showing simple writing statistics, yield higher satisfaction among participants as they complete the writing task. Furthermore, the incorporation of text mining decreases aversion to the task and helps participants overcome writer's block. Finally, we discuss lessons learned from our evaluation that help quantify the difficulty of behavior change for writing procrastination, with emphasis on goals for the HCI community.

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