Reducing working memory load in spoken dialogue systems

Maria Wolters, Kallirroi Georgila, Johanna Moore, Robert Logie, Sarah McPherson, Matthew Watson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We evaluated two strategies for alleviating working memory load for users of voice interfaces: presenting fewer options per turn and providing confirmations. Forty-eight users booked appointments using nine different dialogue systems, which varied in the number of options presented and the confirmation strategy used. Participants also performed four cognitive tests and rated the usability of each dialogue system on a standardised questionnaire. When systems presented more options per turn and avoided explicit confirmation subdialogues, both older and younger users booked appointments more quickly without compromising task success. Users with lower information processing speed were less likely to remember all relevant aspects of the appointment. Working memory span did not affect appointment recall. Older users were slightly less satisfied with the dialogue systems than younger users. We conclude that the number of options is less important than an accurate assessment of the actual cognitive demands of the task at hand.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)276-287
JournalInteracting with Computers
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jun 2009


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