Voice Interfaces in Everyday Life

CHI, 2018.

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Our data reveals that the incipience of interaction with a Voice User Interfaces is achieved through its readyavailability, yet users may still methodically account for a request given the social context within which the use is done

Abstract:

Voice User Interfaces (VUIs) are becoming ubiquitously available, being embedded both into everyday mobility via smartphones, and into the life of the home via u0027assistantu0027 devices. Yet, exactly how users of such devices practically thread that use into their everyday social interactions remains underexplored. By collecting and stu...More

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Introduction
  • Voice interaction has become a feature in many commercial devices such as mobile phones and tablets.
  • The authors' work is in the tradition of HCI and CSCW research that deploys technology to study the situated and emergent lived experience in the home [37]
  • In this way, the authors are continuing recent work emerging in CSCW that has begun to examine VUIs in collaborative action [26], for social settings such as meetings [18], and socialising with friends in a café [27].
  • Audio capture was selectively performed by a separate device, a Conditional Voice Recorder, to collect over 6 hours of verbal exchanges involving the Echo in some way
Highlights
  • Voice interaction has become a feature in many commercial devices such as mobile phones and tablets
  • With a few exceptions, little is known about the practical accomplishment of interactions with Voice User Interfaces and the articulation of just how such interactions unfold as embedded in everyday life of Voice User Interfaces users
  • We believe this absence is significant, since our own study suggests a range of conceptual shifts that might need to be taken into account when designing Voice User Interfaces for home settings and more broadly
  • The presentation of our findings focuses on the practical achievements of Voice User Interfaces users, and itself forms the main contribution of this paper
  • By drawing on fragments from our corpus of recordings of Amazon Echo use collected from multiple homes, our findings reveal how the use of the Echo is made ‘at home’, as situated actions, and becomes embedded in the life of the home rather than that of a discrete singular isolatable event
  • Our data reveals that the incipience of interaction with a Voice User Interfaces is achieved through its readyavailability, yet users may still methodically account for a request given the social context within which the use is done
Conclusion
  • The presentation of the findings focuses on the practical achievements of VUI users, and itself forms the main contribution of this paper.
  • The authors' data reveals that the incipience of interaction with a VUI is achieved through its readyavailability, yet users may still methodically account for a request given the social context within which the use is done.
  • The authors turned to transferring the findings from that of matters of interaction to conceptual discussion points, to inform and shape future research and design on the use of VUIs
Summary
  • Introduction:

    Voice interaction has become a feature in many commercial devices such as mobile phones and tablets.
  • The authors' work is in the tradition of HCI and CSCW research that deploys technology to study the situated and emergent lived experience in the home [37]
  • In this way, the authors are continuing recent work emerging in CSCW that has begun to examine VUIs in collaborative action [26], for social settings such as meetings [18], and socialising with friends in a café [27].
  • Audio capture was selectively performed by a separate device, a Conditional Voice Recorder, to collect over 6 hours of verbal exchanges involving the Echo in some way
  • Conclusion:

    The presentation of the findings focuses on the practical achievements of VUI users, and itself forms the main contribution of this paper.
  • The authors' data reveals that the incipience of interaction with a VUI is achieved through its readyavailability, yet users may still methodically account for a request given the social context within which the use is done.
  • The authors turned to transferring the findings from that of matters of interaction to conceptual discussion points, to inform and shape future research and design on the use of VUIs
Related work
  • There are three broad areas that our study connects with. Firstly, we set the scene for our paper by covering the development of VUIs. Then we consider the role of conversation analysis in HCI when addressing VUIs specifically, noting clear absences and also formulating the shape of an emerging new area. Finally, we take an orthogonal perspective into account: namely, the methodological challenges associated with the design, deployment, and study of technologies in the home.

    Voice User Interfaces As we have already noted, there are multiple ways of naming machines that people can ‘talk to’, including conversational agents, or intelligent personal assistants. This is a broad category, however, so we employ VUI to indicate our focus on spoken word interactions. In doing so, we are necessarily distinguishing our work from the study of chatbots, such as Facebook M, that involve practices of reading and writing (typing messages and reading responses). We focus specifically on interfaces that are primarily voice-based, in which the user talks to the device and the device responds with a synthesised voice. Current commercially-available examples include Alexa as found in the Amazon Echo, and Assistant as found in the Google Home. We also note a slight distinction between this interest and virtual or embodied humans/agents, such as SimSensei [5], that are spoken to but also include a visual representation of a human counterpart that audibly and visually responds.
Funding
  • This work is supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council [grant numbers EP/G037574/1, EP/G065802/1, EP/N014243/1, EP/M02315X/1, EP/K025848/1]
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