FocusLight - Help avoid interruptions with a focus light


A significant part of a developer’s work flow is disturbed by interruptions from co-workers or phone calls. While these are important for the overall team productivity and team work, some of them are decreasing a developer’s productivity if they occur in an inopportune moment. We created a tool for developers using the Windows operating system, which captures a developer’s focus by collecting information about the user input with keyboard and mouse and programs used. This focus state is then visualized using a simple light nearby the developer’s desk, similar to a traffic light. It turns red in case the developer is focused, and signals other co-workers not to interrupt the developer. Green indicates others may interrupt with a question, as the developer is currently less focused on the current task. The collected data is further visualized in a retrospection to give developers the opportunity to reflect on their workdays and learn more about their work habits and practices.

Goals of this master project

Your job would be to create something similar and optimize the approach for developers on the Mac operating system. This includes creating a monitoring tool to log windows activities, user input and probably other information to collect information about a developer’s work. You could then use the collected data and test a few useful ways of visualizations. For example, you could think about ways to provide developers with an overview over their workday or workweek, by visualizing the collected data in a retrospection. Or, you could use a fancy light, such as the BlyncLight, to visualize the current focus state of the developer, and possibly also integrate it into a VoIP client, such as Skype for Business. Of course, we could also talk about any other idea you might have.

Task description

The main tasks of this projects are:

  • Implement a monitoring tool for the Mac OS to log windows activities, user input, and more.
  • Think about a good form of storing the collected data, which makes it easy to run analyses on it and respects each user’s privacy.
  • Display the collected data in form of a retrospection, using a light or another new innovative way.
  • Test the stability and functions with a small group of developers in a pilot study.

Updated: 26.10.2017

Contact: André Meyer