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.
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.
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’.
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.