Take Control of Your Phone: End Needless Text & Call Interruptions

While edUMize is our #1 priority as employees, we cannot neglect our other obligations to school, family, friends, etc.  Even while at work, in a meeting, in class, or on a date, we cannot turn off our mobile devices for even a minute because we might need to be reached by someone important; whether it be mom/dad, a boyfriend/girlfriend, or our boss; Mr. Gerben.  As a consequence, we receive tons of non-urgent communication throughout the day.

Why not have an application on our phones that can automatically screen calls and texts so that only certain people can reach us when we are preoccupied with more important tasks?  Group 5 is proposing just that, and we call it Do Not Disturb.  With Do Not Disturb, we can set our electronic calendar in advance (using Google Calendar, iCal, or other similar programs) and have the option to screen our calls/texts during set events.  You determine a “VIP List” in advance so that only specific people can reach you while the application is screening calls and texts.  Those who are not on the VIP List that try and reach you will receive a polite text message in return, stating that you are preoccupied at the moment and that you will return their message as soon as possible.  Calls will receive a similar message; only it will be in voice format.  Once the event is over, you will receive your missed calls and texts. The application will have a “manual screen” option, in case you forget to schedule an event and still need your calls and texts screened.

We hope to market this product to students first, since they are most willing to try new things.  Once we have all the “bugs” worked out, we will try and broaden our market to all mobile phone users; especially business people.

Below is our proposed interface layout for Android phones as well as a logo design.  We are looking for feedback specifically on those, as well as any [constructive] criticism on the product itself.  Thanks!

-Group 5

Proposed Interface Layout for Droid

Proposed Logo Design


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21 responses to “Take Control of Your Phone: End Needless Text & Call Interruptions

  • angelidk

    I think the overall concept of this app is very unique and a good idea but I think there are some things you can do to make this product more attractive to students. First, I think being able to personalize the message that is received would do this, by either offering other options of messages or by allowing the user to create a message themselves. Also, I think most students don’t use iCal or Google calendar for every day things like class. A suggestion I would have would be to allow the user to activate this app whenever and just indicate the length of time they’d like the Do Not Disturb feature to be turned on for. I think that would make the app easier and more accessible to students. I like the interface designs you guys created, although I have a BlackBerry and I think it’d be nice to give all smart phones access to an app like this. Also, maybe consider extending this to email also. I hate having my phone vibrate during class for unimportant emails. Good job so far! I hope the suggestions are helpful.

    • swartc

      We agree with you 100%! We want to hit every smart phone market, especially Blackberry. However; we will start with the Android market because coding is done much more easily.

  • hollymj

    This is a very unique idea and honestly something I have never thought of. A question I have is if you turn your phone on silent, then have it where only your mom’s calls can come through, would it ring out loud? I feel like this would defeat the the purpose of turning my phone on silent. Also, what if the person you are “allowing” to get in contact with you doesn’t realize you are at an “event” and keeps texting or calling you. I feel like the purpose for me of having something like this would be to allow people to get in contact with me if it was an emergency otherwise ignore them til out of my event. I am not sure if I just don’t fully understand the purpose or if these questions might help you think of ways to take this idea further. I think this is a really great start though and good luck!

    • swartc

      Well, hopefully the person who continues calling and texting is on your VIP list for a reason and you will answer their call or text.

      As far as your phone ringing or vibrating, that is completely personal preference.

  • sbernie

    This is a simple, yet very creative idea that will most likely be very popular amongst students and faculty here at U of M. I am very impressed with the design that the group has come up with for Do Not Disturb, and think that this product is heading in a great direction. The only concern I have is that everyone does not have an iphone. Obviously, those who do are in good shape in terms of this application’s usage. However, I think this is a good and basic enough idea that it could possibly be applied to all types of phones, including blackberries and “classic” flip phones (what I currently own and use). The idea of not being bothered by unimportant messages during important times is very attractive to consumers, so why not try and expand this product as much as possible? That is the only suggestion I have. Otherwise, it looks great.

    • swartc

      We agree! We fully intend on hitting the entire smart phone market, including Blackberry. The only market we might not spend the time or money on are the older flip-phones. Each has a different OS and would be costly to adapt to each platform.

  • asilvs

    This is a very intersting idea. I think a great addition to the app would be to have the option to save the VIP list for different events so that for a new event you can reuse a list or create a new list.

    As well, it would be nice for the do not disturb reply message to specift a time the person will be available again so people know when to expect a reply back.

    Overall the idea is good and the layout seems easy to use but the beta version may want to expand to more than just the android phone.

    • uofmwolverine

      I personally love the idea but I feel the specifics must be elaborated on. Such an app would be great for students if it automatically put/set your phone to vibrate/silent during your class (using ical or other calender programs as a reference). Everyone has been that person once in their life whose phone goes off at exactly the wrong time, in a meeting, at the Dr.’s, or in class. For the small fee of a dollar, many people would be enticed to solve this problem that many people only realize after it is too late/after your phone rings.

    • swartc

      Multiple VIP lists? Done! That’s a great idea, thank you!

      An automated response that gives the time you will be available might be tricky, because then you might receive a large amount of calls and texts once you’re out of the meeting, instead of just returning them at your leisure.

  • teijamadhu

    I think this is an interesting problem that you are trying to solve here, but I think the problem itself proposes other issues that the app cannot necessarily solve and that regular phones already possess.

    For instance, how does one know that a call is an emergency call vs. a normal call from the person. Even if your mom is calling she may not be in an emergency. If something can be done where when a person calls with an emergency they can press a certain number that indicates that they need to talk to you ASAP. So instead or even in addition to a VIP list, there could be a feature to acknowledge whether the call or text is important and worth taking as soon as possible.

    Also, concerning the message that politely tells the person calling or texting that you are busy: is this necessary? I feel that for efficiency’s sake the person’s normal voicemail would suffice. The person calling or texting would most likely assume that you are busy and cannot answer your phone. I’m not sure if others feel that way, but I think its not completely necessary to send a message saying that you are busy because by not answering your phone you are implying this.

    Those are my only two issues with this solution. Overall, I think this idea is really interesting and can lead to more efficient, less distracting meetings.

    • swartc

      This is an interesting idea. However, some people might press the emergency button just because they really want to talk to you, not necessarily need. Our goal is to give power back to the owner of the phone and I feel that allowing any number to reach the owner of the phone as long as they feel its an emergency is detracting from the utility of the app.

  • annieshiu

    if someone needs to reach you for something important, u would not know ahead of time, thus how would u know who to block. if ur parents r in VIP list, if ur mom is calling u to just check up on u, u do not want to answer her calls during ur meeting. i do not think this is very useful is screening since u dont know who would be calling u for something important. putting ur phone on silent, u’ll be able to see who called/text u, then u can decide if u want to call that person back immediately….how is this app better than that?

    • swartc

      You set your VIP list for whoever is important to you. It’s totally personal preference. If you do not want to hear from your parents during a meeting, then it would be best to keep them off your VIP list.

      If your phone is on silent, this means you would be constantly looking at your phone to check and see if anyone important is trying to reach you. This is the exact behavior that our application is trying to curtail.

  • seanhuff

    This is a good idea, but integrating more features into the program & establishing a patent or copyright on these features would prevent cell phones companies from integrating Do Not Disturb into their cell phone’s factory software. For example, setting timers and calendar integration for setting the phone to loud, silent, or vibrate would be a great idea. Additionally, the ability to set who is a high-priority contact on a calendar/timer basis would be great (as well as multiple priority lists).

  • susanaysw

    I think this idea really innovative and useful. However, I cannot distinguish the difference between this app and the silent function in the phone. Some people rely on their secretary to have the appointment schedule. If this is the case, how this function be useful for them if they do not set the schedule in their phone? overall, I think this function really great since it does not remind people to set the silent function if there is important event.

  • tinkerbelljacobs

    I agree that the proposed issue is a problem. The “Do Not Disturb” is a great idea, however, I do have some concerns about it. Often, people call from different numbers. Some peoples’ phones are dead or do not have service and therefore, they use someones phone near by. How will the “Do Not Disturb” application work for unknown numbers even if it is someone from the “VIP list” calling.

    Also, meetings and appointments often start late, run late, etc. How will the application be modified to accommodate unexpected changes in one’s schedule?

    Another factor is the cost. The cost must be kept at a minimal price because if it is too high, students will not pay for it. Although it is not as good as the application, students may opt for just placing the phone on silent if the application is a high cost.

  • sbernie

    The video was great. It was professional, pretty concise, and kind of funny. I loved the music, and the idea is very simple but awesome. Well done!

  • uofmwolverine

    I loved the ad personally. I think if marketed correctly, this could actually go viral. The long term capability of this product is huge (i.e. other platforms). I enjoyed the overall presentation and look forward to the product.

  • tinkerbelljacobs

    Personally, I thought that the video clip was extremely well done. It was not too long, yet it contained a lot of information. Although this would be way too long for a t.v. advertisement, it is the perfect time to place it on Youtube or Facebook. I think that the advertisement was very professional, but was still entertaining and captivating. My only concern is that there may be similar products now and in the future. Thus, it might be beneficial to add in the advertisement why this product is different then other ones similar to it.

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