Developing Multimodal Spoken Dialogue Systems : Empirical Studies of Spoken Human–Computer Interaction

Abstract: This thesis presents work done during the last ten years on developing five multimodal spoken dialogue systems, and the empirical user studies that have been conducted with them. The dialogue systems have been multimodal, giving information both verbally with animated talking characters and graphically on maps and in text tables. To be able to study a wider rage of user behaviour each new system has been in a new domain and with a new set of interactional abilities. The five system presented in this thesis are: The Waxholm system where users could ask about the boat traffic in the Stockholm archipelago; the Gulan system where people could retrieve information from the Yellow pages of Stockholm; the August system which was a publicly available system where people could get information about the author Strindberg, KTH and Stockholm; the AdAptsystem that allowed users to browse apartments for sale in Stockholm and the Pixie system where users could help ananimated agent to fix things in a visionary apartment publicly available at the Telecom museum in Stockholm. Some of the dialogue systems have been used in controlled experiments in laboratory environments, while others have been placed inpublic environments where members of the general public have interacted with them. All spoken human-computer interactions have been transcribed and analyzed to increase our understanding of how people interact verbally with computers, and to obtain knowledge on how spoken dialogue systems canutilize the regularities found in these interactions. This thesis summarizes the experiences from building these five dialogue systems and presents some of the findings from the analyses of the collected dialogue corpora.