This chapter presents the state-of-the-art in usability issues and methodologies for VoiceWeb interfaces. It undertakes a theoretical perspective to the usability methodology and provides a framework description for creating and testing usable content and applications for conversational interfaces. The methodologies and their uses are discussed as well as certain technical issues that are of specific importance for each type of system. Moreover, it discusses the hands-on approaches for applying usability methodologies in a spoken dialogue web application environment, including methodological and design issues, resource management, implementation using existing technologies for usability evaluation in several stages of the design and deployment. Finally, the challenging usability issues and parameters of the emerging advanced speech-enabled web interfaces are presented.
Interacting Via Spoken Dialogue
The term usability has been used for many years to denote that an application or interface is user friendly, easy-to-use. It applies to most interfaces, including web interfaces and more importantly speech-based web interfaces, and it can be assessed on both full system level and individual modules and processes level. Therefore, in order to evaluate usability it is important to first understand the design requirements and the architecture of such interfaces. In the following sections we describe the main interaction frameworks that the architecture of most speech enabled applications falls into.