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I'm thinking about how the gender, talking speed and accent of the speech voice used affects user understanding. (UK market) Examples of speech interface: SatNavs, Automated Telephone Assistance Services, etc.

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This is a fairly broad question because (1) some of the guidelines for the use of speech in a UI will depend on the context of use, e.g., speech interaction in a in-vehicle navigation system will differ from speech in a telephone service, (2) there are many variables to be considered, e.g., the 'talking speed' mentioned above could refer to 'the speed at which the system speaks' or 'the speed at which the user speaks'. Is it possible to narrow the question a bit more. Otherwise, the answer you get might be too generic to be useful. – user1757436 May 23 '13 at 13:04
I was after information particularly on automated speech OUTPUT rather than human speech INPUT to an automated system. – PhillipW Jun 25 '13 at 9:43

Somewhat old paper, but has a decent starting point: User Interface Design Guidelines for Speech

When and how to develop a speech recognition application:

  • Use speech when the user’s eyes and hands are busy or when the user is moving.
  • Train the speech recognition system in the user’s work environment.
  • Iteratively evaluate and re-design the speech recognition application.

10 guidelines related to the software portion of the speech recognition user interface:

  • Keep small the number of words in the speech recognition vocabulary.
  • Keep short each speech input.
  • Use speech inputs that sound distinctly different from each other.
  • Provide immediate feedback for every speech input.
  • Keep the user interface simple.
  • Make error correction intuitive.
  • Avoid modes.
  • Don’t use speech to position objects.
  • Use a command-based user interface.
  • Allow users to quickly and easily turn off and on the speech recognizer.

However, keep in mind that natural language processing has come a long way in the past couple years making it possible to have seamless voice interaction rather than just command based voice input.

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