Tactful Calling


Project Description

At the time of an incoming call, users increasingly find themselves in the dilemma of either taking the call, which may be impolite towards others, or simply inadequate, or rejecting the call, which may be – towards the caller – impolite or inadequate, as well. In the Tactful Calling project, a level of urgency is added to the phone call.

Force-Sensitive Dialing

The level of urgency is expressed by the caller through the force exerted on the ‘dial’ button, making it physically harder to place a call flagged as ‘important’, and requiring him to gently touch the ‘dial’ button to make a more ‘hesitant’ call.

Iconic Representation

At the callee’s screen, an icon represents the urgency of the incoming call, ranging across a ‘thinking bubble’, ‘speech bubble’ and a ‘shout bubble’.

Urgency Filter

Given the added information of urgency, it is possible to set up a filter for incoming calls, e.g. redirecting all calls that are not flagged as ‘important’. This seeks to help users to manage their connected lives more efficiently, and more politely towards each other, giving them a broader spectrum within mobile communications.


Hemmert, F., Löwe, M., Wohlauf, A., & Joost, G. (2009). Tactful Calling: Urgency-Augmented Phone Calls through High-Resolution Pressure Input on Mobile Phones. 3187-3192(pp. ).

CHI ’09 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems.

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