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Smartphones have become an integral part of many people s lives. We can
use these powerful devices to perform a great variety of tasks, ranging from
making phone calls to connecting to the Internet. However, sometimes we would like some tasks to be performed automatically. These tasks can be automated by using automation applications, which continuously monitor the smartphone s context to execute a sequence of actions when an event happens under certain conditions. These automations are starting to get popular with end users, since they can make their phones easier to use and even more battery efficient. However, little work has been done on empowering end users to create such automations. We propose an approach for automating smartphone tasks by retrospective demonstration. Succinctly, we consider the logic behind the approach as keep doing what I just did: the automation application continuously records the users interactions with their phones, and after users perform a task that they would like to automate, they can ask the application to create an automation rule based on their latest recorded actions. Since users only have to use their smartphones, as they would naturally do, to demonstrate the actions, we believe that our approach can lower the barrier for creating smartphone automations. To evaluate our approach, we developed prototypes of an application called Keep Doing It, which supports automating tasks by demonstration. We conducted a lab user study with the first prototype to gather participants first impressions. The participants created automation rules using our application based on given scenarios. Based on their feedback and on our observations, we refined the prototype and conducted a five-day remote user study with new participants, who could then create which and how many rules they wanted. Overall, the findings of both studies suggest that, although there were some occasional inaccuracies (especially when demonstrating rules that contain conditions), participants would be willing to automate smartphone tasks by demonstration due to its ease of use. We concluded that this approach has much potential to aid end users to automate their smartphones, but there are still issues that need to be addressed by further research.