Toward determining an attention-getting device for improving interaction during video-mediated communication

D. I. Fels, P. L. Weiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Video-mediated communication is becoming a more common and effective means of interpersonal communication including work-related activities, distance education, telemedicine, and access to public information. Although the issue of `attention getting' and its importance for interpersonal interaction is well recognized in the video-mediated communication literature there is very little empirical evidence as to the relative effectiveness of the various attributes of attention-getting signals. The objective of this study was to compare the response times and error rates of four attention-getting devices which were suitable for a particular application of video-mediated communication in the educational sector. Twelve subjects (eight female and four male), classroom instructors aged 35-55 years, participated in the study. Four attention-getting devices were tested in this experiment: a red light, a yellow rotating light, a wire hand, and a fan with ribbon streamers. Each device was tested three times in three different classrooms during an actual class with actual instructors (the subjects). A one-way analysis of variance demonstrated a significant difference in response time for the four devices with the yellow light and the metal hand being fastest. This preliminary study points out the importance of empirically testing the effectiveness of attention-getting devices of differing characteristics since, of the four devices tested here, two could be expected to elicit the most immediate response from a communication partner.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-198
Number of pages10
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - 31 Mar 2000
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank The Bay and Wayne Gretzky, Ryerson Polytechnic University, Human Resources Development Canada, Telbotics Inc., NSERC grant #OGP0184220, The Ontario Ministry of Education and Training (TIPPS II), The Royal Bank of Canada, and the Ontario Provincial and Demonstration Schools. Rich Yim and Vic Singh designed and conducted the experiments. We gratefully acknowledge all participants in the studies.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • General Psychology


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