VUI-Speak: There is Nothing Conversational about “Conversational User Interfaces”

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In this chapter we suggest a concept for the description of participants practices for progressively adapting their actions to fit the computational system in Voice User Interfaces (VUI) such as Google Home. We describe this phenomenon as “VUI-speak”. Although developers aim at enabling computers to communicate like humans our study shows that, on the contrary, people accommodate to the device through practices of VUI-speak. Based on video ethnographic studies and ethnomethodological conversation analysis (EM/CA) of blind peoples’ natural use of Google Home, this research contributes to EM/CA studies of HCI, HRI and VUI in particular. The findings from this research suggest, that VUI-Speak is 1) produced as a third position in a five-part sequential structure, 2) that there is a change of action formation, and 3) that this change relates to producing what we call an application-oriented turn. This research has practical implications for the design of conversational systems and contributes to the expanding field of EM/CA research on VUI-interaction.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSocial Robots In Institutional Interaction
PublisherBielefeld University Press
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023

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