The effects of pause software on the temporal characteristics of computer use
The study investigated the natural work-pause pattern of computer users and the possible effects of imposing pause regimes on this pattern. Hereto, the precise timing of computer events was recorded across a large number of days. It was found that the distribution of the pause durations was extremely skewed and that pauses with twice the duration are twice less likely to occur. The effects of imposing pause regimes were studied by performing a simulation of commercially available pause software. It was found that depending on the duration of the introduced pause, the software added 25-57% of the pauses taken naturally. Analysis of the timing of the introduced pauses revealed that a large number of spontaneous pauses were taken close to the inserted pause. Considering the disappointing results of studies investigating the effects of introducing (active) pauses during computer work, this study has cast doubt on the usefulness of introducing short duration pauses.