Hands-free, speech-based navigation during dictation: Difficulties, consequences, and solutions

Andrew Sears, Jinjuan Feng, Kwesi Cseitutu, Claire Marie Karat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Speech recognition technology continues to improve, but users still experience significant difficulty using the software to create and edit documents. In fact, a recent study confirmed that users spent 66% to their time on correction activities and only 33% on dictation of particular interest is the fact that one third of the user's time was spent simply navigating from one location to another. In this article we investigate the efficacy of hands-free, speech-based navigation in the context of dictation-oriented activities. We provide detailed data regarding failure rates, reasons for failures, and the consequences of these failures. Our results confirm that direction-oriented navigation (e.g., Move up two lines) is less effective than target-oriented navigation (e.g. Select target). We identify the three most common reasons behind the failure of speech-based navigation commands: recognition errors, issuing of invalid commands, and pausing in the middle of issuing a commands. We also document the consequences of failed speech-based navigation commands. As a result of this analysis, we identify changes that will reduce failure rates and lessen the consequences of some remaining failures. We also propose a more substantial set of changes to simplify direction-based navigation and enhance the target-based navigation. The efficacy of this final set of recommendations must be evaluated through future empirical studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-257
Number of pages29
JournalHuman-Computer Interaction
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Psychology
  • Human-Computer Interaction


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