Human-Computer Interaction: Ergonomics and User Interfaces - Vol. 1

By Hans-Jörg Bullinger; Jürgen Ziegler | Go to book overview
The evolution of the subjects' use of synergic multimodality over the experiment supports this interpretation, inasmuch as five subjects out of eight resorted increasingly to multimodal commands in the course of the experiment. The percentage of multimodal commands over the total number of commands per session increased from 37% (first session) to 47% (last session) despite marked inter-individual differences. Two subjects used oral commands extensively during the three sessions, although one of them resorted to multimodality increasingly; two others used speech and gestures alternately (according to the type of action they wanted to perform) throughout the experiment; as to the remaining four subjects, their use of multimodality increased steadily from the first session to the last. A close analysis of recorded gestures and utterances suggests that inter-individual differences in the use of modalities result mainly from differences in the subjects' mental representations of their interaction with the system, namely: manipulation of graphical representations of the application (as in direct manipulation), or cooperative manipulation of these representations (i.e. cooperation with the system), or communication with the system (as with a human interlocutor).These empirical findings suggest that, contrary to current assumptions, synergic multimodality will not be used spontaneously by all users in all HCI contexts. In the first stages of interaction, multimodality will be used mostly for expressing information which cannot be formulated adequately using exclusively either speech or gestures; experienced users will resort to multimodality more often, whenever its use contributes to optimize the interaction (i.e. results in shorter and more precise formulations).
4
Conclusion
We have presented an empirical study of multimodal HCI which gives an insight into user preferences and behaviors regarding the use of speech and gestures in HCI environments. Interface designers should be aware that the synergic use of spontaneous speech and gestures in such contexts seems to increase the user's cognitive workload. This form of synergic multimodality may then be considered as an efficient and usable substitute for direct manipulation, thanks respectively to the simultaneity between speech and gestures and the absence of expression constraints; however, one may question whether speech associated with gestures is a more natural/transparent interaction mode than direct manipulation.
5
References
Amalberti, R., Carbonell, N., & Falzon, P. ( 1993). User representations of computer systems in human-computer speech interaction. International Journal of Man-Machine Studies, 38, 547-566.

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