Proceedings: GI 2012

Individual differences in personal task management: a field study in an academic setting

Mona Haraty, Diane Tam, Shathel Haddad, Joanna McGrenere, Charlotte Tang

Proceedings of Graphics Interface 2012: Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 28 - 30 May 2012, 35-44

  • BibTex

    author = {Haraty, Mona and Tam, Diane and Haddad, Shathel and McGrenere, Joanna and Tang, Charlotte},
    title = {Individual differences in personal task management: a field study in an academic setting},
    booktitle = {Proceedings of Graphics Interface 2012},
    series = {GI 2012},
    year = {2012},
    issn = {0713-5424},
    isbn = {978-1-4503-1420-6},
    location = {Toronto, Ontario, Canada},
    pages = {35--44},
    numpages = {10},
    publisher = {Canadian Human-Computer Communications Society},
    address = {Toronto, Ontario, Canada},


A plethora of electronic personal task management (e-PTM) tools have been designed to help individuals manage their tasks. There is a lack of evidence, however, on the extent to which these tools actually help. In addition, previous research has reported that e-PTM tools have low adoption rates. To understand the reasons for such poor adoption and to gain insight into individual differences in PTM, we conducted a focus group with 7 participants followed by a field study with 12 participants, both in an academic setting. This paper describes different behaviors involved in managing everyday tasks. Based on the similarities and differences in individuals' PTM behaviors, we identify three types of users: adopters, make-doers, and do-it-yourselfers. Grounded in our findings, we offer design guidelines for personalized PTM tools, which can serve the different types of users and their behaviors.