9th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

Brisbane, Australia
September 22-26, 2008

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

Tim Paek, Yun-Cheng Ju

Microsoft Research, USA

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.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Paek, Tim / Ju, Yun-Cheng (2008): "Accommodating explicit user expressions of uncertainty in voice search or something like that", In INTERSPEECH-2008, 1165-1168.