Benjamin R. Cowan's research while affiliated with University College Dublin and other places

Publications (93)

Preprint
Full-text available
Conversational User Interfaces such as Voice Assistants are hugely popular. Yet they are designed to be monolingual by default, lacking support for, or sensitivity to, the bilingual dialogue experience. In this provocation paper, we highlight the language production challenges faced in VA interaction for bilingual users. We argue that, by facilitat...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
We present RoomReader, a corpus of multimodal, multiparty conversational interactions in which participants followed a collaborative student-tutor scenario designed to elicit spontaneous speech. The corpus was developed within the wider RoomReader Project to explore multimodal cues of conversational engagement and behavioural aspects of collaborati...
Preprint
Full-text available
Transitioning between various topics is a natural component of human-human. Although, topic transitions has been studied in dialogue for decades, only a handful of corpora based studies have been performed to analyze the subtleties in topic transitions. Thus, this study annotates $215$ conversations from switchboard corpus and studies how factors s...
Preprint
This work aims to connect the Automotive User Interfaces (Auto-UI) and Conversational User Interfaces (CUI) communities through discussion of their shared view of the future of automotive conversational user interfaces. The workshop aims to encourage creative consideration of optimistic and pessimistic futures, encouraging attendees to explore the...
Preprint
Full-text available
Video conferencing systems have long facilitated work-related conversations among remote teams. However, social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic has forced colleagues to use video conferencing platforms to additionally fulfil social needs. Social talk, or informal talk, is an important workplace practice that is used to build and maintain bo...
Preprint
Full-text available
Neural language modelling has progressed the state-of-the-art in different downstream Natural Language Processing (NLP) tasks. One such area is of open-domain dialog modelling, neural dialog models based on GPT-2 such as DialoGPT have shown promising performance in single-turn conversation. However, such (neural) dialog models have been criticized...
Preprint
Full-text available
Current speech agent interactions are typically user-initiated, limiting the interactions they can deliver. Future functionality will require agents to be proactive, sometimes interrupting users. Little is known about how these spoken interruptions should be designed, especially in urgent interruption contexts. We look to inform design of proactive...
Conference Paper
A lot of academic and industrial HCI work has focused on making interactions easier and less effortful. As the potential risks of optimising for effortlessness have crystallised in systems designed to take advantage of the way human attention and cognition works, academic researchers and industrial practitioners have wondered whether increasing the...
Article
Full-text available
Designers commonly use gamification to improve the frequency of engagement with apps, but often fail to consider the impact of placement on reward value. As rewards tend to depreciate if delayed (termed temporal discounting), placing a reward further into the future can significantly affect its ability to motivate behaviour. We examine the most eff...
Preprint
Full-text available
We present a dialogue elicitation study to assess how users envision conversations with a perfect voice assistant (VA). In an online survey, N=205 participants were prompted with everyday scenarios, and wrote the lines of both user and VA in dialogues that they imagined as perfect. We analysed the dialogues with text analytics and qualitative analy...
Preprint
Full-text available
Perceptions of system competence and communicative ability, termed partner models, play a significant role in speech interface interaction. Yet we do not know what the core dimensions of this concept are. Taking a psycholexical approach, our paper is the first to identify the key dimensions that define partner models in speech agent interaction. Th...
Chapter
Interactions with speech interfaces are growing, helped by the advent of intelligent personal assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. This software is utilised in hardware such as smart home devices (e.g. Amazon Echo and Google Home), smartphones and vehicles. Given the unprecedented level of spoken interactions with machines, it is impo...
Preprint
Full-text available
Amid current social distancing measures requiring people to work from home, there has been renewed interest on how to effectively converse and collaborate remotely utilizing currently available technologies. On the surface, VR provides a perfect platform for effective remote communication. It can transfer contextual and environmental cues and facil...
Preprint
Through proliferation on smartphones and smart speakers, intelligent personal assistants (IPAs) have made speech a common interaction modality. Yet, due to linguistic coverage and varying levels of functionality, many speakers engage with IPAs using a non-native language. This may impact the mental workload and pattern of language production displa...
Preprint
Limited linguistic coverage for Intelligent Personal Assistants (IPAs) means that many interact in a non-native language. Yet we know little about how IPAs currently support or hinder these users. Through native (L1) and non-native (L2) English speakers interacting with Google Assistant on a smartphone and smart speaker, we aim to understand this m...
Preprint
The frequency with which people interact with technology means that users may develop interface habits, i.e. fast, automatic responses to stable interface cues. Design guidelines often assume that interface habits are beneficial. However, we lack quantitative evidence of how the development of habits actually affect user performance and an understa...
Article
The frequency with which people interact with technology means that users may develop interface habits, i.e. fast, automatic responses to stable interface cues. Design guidelines often assume that interface habits are beneficial. However, we lack quantitative evidence of how the development of habits actually affect user performance and an understa...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The aim of this workshop is twofold. First, it aims to grow critical mass in Conversational User Interfaces (CUI) research by mapping the grand challenges in designing and researching these interactions. Second, this workshop is intended to further build the CUI community with these challenges in mind, whilst also growing CUI research presence at C...
Article
Online consumer reviews are important for people wishing to make purchases online. However, not everyone contributes online reviews. This paper looks at consumer motivations of reviewing and rating behaviour in order to motivate the design of a mobile interface for online reviewing. An interview study found that people tend to contribute reviews an...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Intelligent personal assistants (IPAs) are supposed to help us multitask. Yet the impact of IPA use on multitasking is not clearly quantified, particularly in situations where primary tasks are also language based. Using a dual task paradigm, our study observes how IPA interactions impact two different types of writing primary tasks; copying and ge...
Conference Paper
Voice Assistants (VAs) like Amazon Echo and Apple Siri are an increasingly popular way of interacting with a range of applications. VAs are also currently gaining traction in the HCI community. Yet, and despite a growing ageing population, work on VAs with older people is scant. In this CUI 2019 provocative paper we aim to encourage research on VAs...
Conference Paper
The assumptions we make about a dialogue partner's knowledge and communicative ability (i.e. our partner models) can influence our language choices. Although similar processes may operate in human-machine dialogue, the role of design in shaping these models, and their subsequent effects on interaction are not clearly understood. Focusing on synthes...
Preprint
Full-text available
Humanness is core to speech interface design. Yet little is known about how users conceptualise perceptions of humanness and how people define their interaction with speech interfaces through this. To map these perceptions n=21 participants held dialogues with a human and two speech interface based intelligent personal assistants, and then reflecte...
Preprint
The assumptions we make about a dialogue partner's knowledge and communicative ability (i.e. our partner models) can influence our language choices. Although similar processes may operate in human-machine dialogue, the role of design in shaping these models, and their subsequent effects on interaction are not clearly understood. Focusing on synthes...
Preprint
Full-text available
Intelligent personal assistants (IPAs) are supposed to help us multitask. Yet the impact of IPA use on multitasking is not clearly quantified, particularly in situations where primary tasks are also language based. Using a dual task paradigm, our study observes how IPA interactions impact two different types of writing primary tasks; copying and ge...
Article
Speech interfaces are growing in popularity. Through a review of 99 research papers this work maps the trends, themes, findings and methods of empirical research on speech interfaces in the field of human–computer interaction (HCI). We find that studies are usability/theory-focused or explore wider system experiences, evaluating Wizard of Oz, proto...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The use of speech as an interaction modality has grown considerably through the integration of Intelligent Personal Assistants (IPAs- e.g. Siri, Google Assistant) into smartphones and voice based devices (e.g. Amazon Echo). However, there remain significant gaps in using theoretical frameworks to understand user behaviours and choices and how they...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Don't ignore this because its about speech technology. VUIs (voice user interfaces) won a best paper in CHI 2018. Did that get your attention? Good. Siri, Ivona, Google Home, and most speech synthesis systems have voices which are based on imitating a neutral citation style of speech and making it sound natural. But, in the real world, darling, peo...
Conference Paper
There is a growing need to support people to counter problematic smartphone use. We analyse related research in methods to address problematic usage and identify a research gap in off-device retraining. We ran a pilot to address this gap, targeting automatic approach biases for smartphones, delivered on a Tabletop surface. Our quantitative analysis...
Article
The evolution of designing interactive interfaces has been rather incremental over the past few decades, largely focused on graphical user interfaces (GUIs), even as these extended from the desktop, to mobile or to wearables. Only recently can we engage in ubiquitous, ambient, and seamless interactions, as afforded by voice user interfaces (VUIs) s...
Preprint
BACKGROUND Young people have been recognised as being particularly vulnerable to experiencing mental health difficulties during adolescence and very few seek treatment or help during this time. Online help-seeking may offer an additional domain where young people can seek help for mental health difficulties, yet our current understanding of how you...
Article
Background Young people are particularly vulnerable to experiencing mental health difficulties, but very few seek treatment or help during this time. Online help-seeking may offer an additional domain where young people can seek aid for mental health difficulties, yet our current understanding of how young people seek help online is limited. Objec...
Preprint
Full-text available
Conversational agents promise conversational interaction but fail to deliver. Efforts often emulate functional rules from human speech, without considering key characteristics that conversation must encapsulate. Given its potential in supporting long-term human-agent relationships, it is paramount that HCI focuses efforts on delivering this promise...
Chapter
Building applications which can form a longer term social bond with a user or engage with a group of users calls for knowledge of how longer conversations work. This paper describes preliminary explorations of the structure of long (c. one hour) multiparty casual conversations, focusing on a binary distinction between two types of interaction phase...
Preprint
Speech interfaces are growing in popularity. Through a review of 68 research papers this work maps the trends, themes, findings and methods of empirical research on speech interfaces in HCI. We find that most studies are usability/theory-focused or explore wider system experiences, evaluating Wizard of Oz, prototypes, or developed systems by using...
Preprint
Full-text available
*Please follow the link on https://lmhclark.com/publications/ to find the published version of this article. The information on metrics in particular differs from this preprint version* Speech interfaces are growing in popularity. Through a review of 68 research papers this work maps the trends, themes, findings and methods of empirical research o...
Article
Much talk between humans is face-to-face, casual, multiparty, and of indefinite duration. Such casual conversation or social talk facilitates social bonding and mutual co-presence rather than strictly being used to exchange information in order to complete well-defined practical tasks. Artificial partners capable of participating as a speaker or li...
Conference Paper
One potential method of improving the efficiency of human-computer interaction is to display information subliminally. Such information cannot be recalled consciously, but has some impact on the perceiver. However, it is not yet clear whether people can extract meaning from subliminal presentation of information in mobile contexts. We therefore exp...
Conference Paper
As research on speech interfaces continues to grow in the field of HCI, there is a need to develop design guidelines that help solve usability and learnability issues that exist in hands-free speech interfaces. While several sets of established guidelines for GUIs exist, an equivalent set of principles for speech interfaces does not exist. This is...
Preprint
Full-text available
Speech interfaces are becoming a more common dialogue partner. With the growth of intelligent personal assistants, pervasive and wearable computing and robot-based technologies, the level of spoken interactions with technology is unprecedented. However, while the technological challenges around the production of natural synthetic voices have been w...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper introduces ADELE, a Personalized Intelligent Compan- ion designed to engage with users through spoken dialog to help them explore topics of interest. The system will maintain a user model of information consumption habits and preferences in order to (1) personalize the user’s experience for ongoing interactions, and (2) build the user-ma...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Social or interactive talk differs from task-based or instrumental interactions in many ways. Quantitative knowledge of these differences will aid the design of convincing human-machine interfaces for applications requiring machines to take on roles including social companions, healthcare providers, or tutors. We briefly review accounts of social t...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Conversation proceeds through dialogue moves or acts, and dialog act annotation can aid the design of artificial dialog. While many dialogs are task-based or instrumental, with clear goals, as in the case of a service encounter or business meeting, many are more interactional in nature, as in friendly chats or longer casual conversations. Early res...
Article
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to investigate how non-research users access and use digital surrogates from archival collections via mobile walking tour app. Much of the existing literature that discusses outreach for digitised archival collections in libraries, archives and museums (LAMs) reports examples of single outreach events or discus...
Conference Paper
Intelligent Personal Assistants (IPAs) are widely available on devices such as smartphones. However, most people do not use them regularly. Previous research has studied the experiences of frequent IPA users. Using qualitative methods we explore the experience of infrequent users: people who have tried IPAs, but choose not to use them regularly. Un...
Conference Paper
Subliminal priming has the potential to influence people's attitudes and behaviour, making them prefer certain choices over others. Yet little research has explored its feasibility on smartphones, even though the global popularity and increasing use of smartphones has spurred interest in mobile behaviour change interventions. This paper addresses t...
Conference Paper
Much talk between humans is casual and multiparty. It facilitates social bonding and mutual co-presence rather than strictly being used to exchange information in order to complete well-defined practical tasks. Artificial partners that are capable of participating as a speaker or listener in such talk would be useful for companionship, educational,...