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Dissecting the Distracting Effects of Email Implementation adsa




MAS: Media Arts and Sciences

Faculty Supervisor:

Joe Paradiso

Faculty email:


Apply by:



David Ramsay: dramsay@media.mit.edu

Project Description

How much does having an email client on your desktop pull you out of work? Does separating it into a separate device make a difference? If we have a separate space where we can check our email, how does that affect our stress, focus, and behavior? We're working on wearable technology to measure states of focus and behavior. We'd like to compliment that with an email client that we can run in various contexts that tracks user metrics of engagement -- how often do you check your email? How long do you spend? How many emails do you respond to, flag, and delete? How fast do you respond to whom? This information will be compared against behavioral metrics of stress, focus, and productivity; it will also be used to show how different design choices that restrict/alter a user engagement with the email client affect its use. To do this, we're looking for a UROP to modify the opensource Mailspring email client (github.com/Foundry376/Mailspring), which is written in Javascript using the React framework, and run cross-platform on desktops using Electron. We'd like to (1) add tracking features for the engagement metrics listed above, and (2) create a secure API to query them, so this information can be incorporated in other systems and/or cross referenced.


Javascript/Github/code development skills are required; React experience is a plus. This will be a fully remote UROP for pay or credit; current UROP limitations mean only UROPs located in the US can be considered for pay.