User Experiences with Online Status Indicators

Camille Cobb, Lucy Simko, Tadayoshi Kohno, Alexis Hiniker

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Online status indicators (OSIs) improve online communication by helping users convey and assess availability, but they also let users infer potentially sensitive information about one another. We surveyed 200 smartphone users to understand the extent to which users are aware of information shared via OSIs and the extent to which this shapes their behavior. Despite familiarity with OSIs, participants misunderstand many aspects of OSIs, and they describe carefully curating and seeking to control their self-presentation via OSIs. Some users further report leveraging OSI-conveyed information for problematic and malicious purposes. Drawing on existing constructs of app dependence (i.e., when users contort their behavior to meet an app's demands) and app enablement (i.e., when apps enable users to engage in behaviors they feel good about), we demonstrate that current OSI design patterns promote app dependence, and we call for a shift toward OSI designs that are more enabling for users.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCHI 2020 - Proceedings of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
ISBN (Electronic)9781450367080
StatePublished - Apr 21 2020
Externally publishedYes
Event2020 ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2020 - Honolulu, United States
Duration: Apr 25 2020Apr 30 2020

Publication series

NameConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings


Conference2020 ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2020
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • mobile apps
  • online status
  • privacy
  • social computing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Software


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