Accommodating Explicit User Expressions of Uncertainty in Voice Search or Something Like That

Voice search applications encourage users to “just say what

you want” in order to obtain useful mobile content such as

automated directory assistance (ADA). Unfortunately, when

users only remember part of what they are looking for, they

are forced to guess, even though what they know may be

sufficient to retrieve the desired information. In this paper, we

propose expanding the capabilities of voice search to allow

users to explicitly express their uncertainties as part of their

queries, and as such, to provide partial knowledge. Applied to

ADA, we highlight the enhanced user experience uncertain

expressions afford and delineate how we performed language

modeling and information retrieval. We evaluate our approach

by assessing its impact on overall ADA performance and by

discussing the results of an experiment in which users

generated both uncertain expressions as well as guesses for

directory listings. Uncertain expressions reduced relative error

rate by 31.8% compared to guessing.

Publisher  International Speech Communication Association
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