Sensory Perception & Interaction Research Group

University of British Columbia

Full citation: 
Soheil Kianzad, Yelim Kim, Julia Ann Barakso Lindsay, Yue Huang, Julian Benavides Benavides, Rock Leung, Karon E MacLean. “Accountability-Aware Design of Voice User Interfaces for Home Appliances,” Graphics Interface, 10 pgs, 2021.
The availability of voice-user interfaces (VUIs) has grown dramatically in recent years. As more capable systems invite higher expectations, the conversational interactions that VUIs support introduce ambiguity in accountability: a user’s or system’s obligation or willingness to be responsible for the outcome of user-delegated tasks. When misconstrued, impact ranges from inconvenience to deadly harm. This project explores how users’ accountability perceptions and expectations can be managed in voice interaction with smart home appliances. To explore links between degree of automation, system accountability and user satisfaction, we identified key design factors for VUI design through an exploratory study, articulated them in video prototypes of four new VUI mechanisms showing a user commanding an advanced appliance and encountering a problem, and deployed them in a second study. We found that participants were more satisfied with automated systems, but also saw them as more accountable. Results suggest that this perceived system accountability was reduced in mechanisms that justified their recommendations. Our findings motivate the development of transitional mechanisms which gradually provide less guidance as users learn to operate the system
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