We investigate instant-messaging (IM) users’ sense-making and practices around read-receipts: a feature of IM apps for supporting the awareness of turn-taking, i.e., whether a message recipient has read a message. Using a grounded-theory approach, we highlight the importance of five contextual factors – situational, relational, interactional, conversational, and personal – that shape the variety of IM users’ sense-making about read-receipts and strategies for utilizing them in different settings. This approach yields a 21-part typology comprising five types of senders’ speculation about why their messages with read-receipts have not been answered; eight types of recipients’ causes/reasons behind such non-response; and four types of senders’ and recipients’ subsequent strategies, respectively. Mismatches between senders’ speculations about un-responded-to read-receipted messages (URRMs) and recipients’ self-reported explanations are also discussed as sources of communicative friction. The findings reveal that, beyond indicating turn-taking, read-receipts have been leveraged as a strategic tool for various purposes in interpersonal relations.
Text chat applications are an integral part of daily social and professional communication. However, messages sent over text chat applications do not convey vocal or nonverbal information from the sender, and detecting the emotional tone in text-only messages is challenging. In this paper, we explore the effects of speech balloon shapes on the sender-receiver agreement regarding the emotionality of a text message. We first investigated the relationship between the shape of a speech balloon and the emotionality of speech text in Japanese manga. Based on these results, we created a system that automatically generates speech balloons matching linear emotional arousal intensity by Auxiliary Classifier Generative Adversarial Networks (ACGAN). Our evaluation results from a controlled experiment suggested that the use of emotional speech balloons outperforms the use of emoticons in decreasing the differences between message senders' and receivers' perceptions about the level of emotional arousal in text messages.
Virtual workspaces rapidly increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, and for many new collaborators, working remotely was their first introduction to their colleagues. Building rapport is essential for a healthy work environment, and while this can be achieved through non-textual responses within chat-based systems (e.g., emoji, GIF, stickers, memes), those non-textual responses are typically associated with personal relationships and informal settings. We studied the experiences of new collaborators (questionnaire N=49; interview N=14) in using non-textual responses to communicate with unacquainted teams and the effect of non-textual responses on new collaborators’ interpersonal bonds. We found new collaborators selectively and progressively use non-textual responses to establish interpersonal bonds. Moreover, the use of non-textual responses has exposed several limitations when used on various platforms. We conclude with design recommendations such as expanding the scope of interpretable non-textual responses and reducing selection time.
Attention-management tools can restrict online communication, but may cause collateral damage to their users’ fulfillment of communication expectations. This paper explores the idea of integrating attention management into instant messaging (IM), by 1) disclosing restriction status via an online status indicator (OSI) to manage contacts’ expectations, and 2) imposing communication limits to reduce communication distraction. We used a speed-dating design method to allow 43 participants to rapidly compare 48 types of OSI restriction in various conversational contexts. We identified two “tug-of-wars” that take place when attention management is integrated into IM apps: one between fulfilling one’s contacts’ expectations and protecting one’s own attention, and the other, between protecting one’s privacy and asserting the justifiability of using communication restrictions. We also highlighted the participants’ desire to be diplomatic for sustaining their positive images and maintaining relational connectedness. Finally, we provide design recommendations for integrating attention management into IM apps.