Paper accepted for the 25th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction
Maier, E. & Reimer, U. (2023, July 23-28). Analysing the Use of Voice Assistants in Domestic Settings Through the Lens of Activity Theory. To be presented at the HCI International 2023, Denmark.
We are happy to announce that Prof. Dr. Edith Maier and Prof. Dr. Ulrich Reimer will be sharing VA-PEPR research at the HCI International 2023 in Denmark by presenting their study Analysing the Use of Voice Assistants in Domestic Settings Through the Lens of Activity Theory which discusses the insights from VA-PEPR research with a focus on contradictions that have emerged in the course of the study.
Abstract: The paper analyses the use of voice assistants in people’s homes through the lens of activity theory guided by concepts such as mental models, context, the relationship between subject and tool as well as contradictions. Activity theory sees conversational devices including voice assistants not as ends in themselves, but as tools to aid the performance of a particular activity or practice. After a brief overview of the use of activity theory in HCI research, the empirical data gathered in an interdisciplinary project on the use of voice-enabled technology are discussed with a focus on the contradictions that have emerged in the course of our study. Contradictions have emerged with respect to the traditional view of home as private, which clashes with the fact that voice assistants may transmit personal data to external bodies. Another contradiction relates to the gulf between people’s expectations of smartness and the current shortcomings of commercial voice assistants. Finally, the paper presents suggestions for how one might design conversational technology in a way that helps resolve those contradictions and cope with the emerging phenomena such as autonomous agents.