Voice assistants for people with cognitive impairments due to acquired brain injury

Malapaschas, Aris (2021) Voice assistants for people with cognitive impairments due to acquired brain injury. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) can cause a wide range of cognitive and physical impairments, which can affect the person’s ability to perform everyday tasks, and reduce their independence. The everyday functioning of people with ABI can be improved through rehabilitation, and through the use of external aids, which can be paper-based tools or electronic devices. Although research shows that the latter can be more effective, there are several barriers that can prevent their efficient. Voice Assistants offer the potential to provide support for people with ABI, overcoming some of this barriers through their hands-free and eyes-free interaction. However, there exist several challenges associated with the usability of speech-only interaction, and the use of VAs in that context has not been thoroughly examined.

This thesis presents a set of requirements capturing studies, aiming to examine how VAs can be used to benefit people with ABI, to identify the factors that can limit their usability in this context, and to explore ways to improve their usability through the design of their voice user interface. Study 1 investigated the common effects of ABI and how the users’ background correlates to the use of external aids, and acquired initial information about the use of VAs among people with ABI. Study 2 further investigated the common cognitive effects of ABI, examined the common methods and objectives of ABI rehabilitation, and acquired the view of ABI experts on the application and design of technological aids.

Study 3 gathered additional information about the impact of the effects of ABI on the use of external aids, and acquired feedback by people with ABI on the concept of using VAs as cognitive aids. Study 4 examined how people with ABI use VAs, and how they compared them to other tools. The results were used to define a set of use-cases, describing how VAs can be used to support cognitive functioning, and facilitate the rehabilitation process.

Study 5 further examined how people with ABI interact with VAs, identifying the different factors that can hinder their usability in a variety of tasks. Finally, Study 6 evaluated different methods to design the voice user interface of a VA-based prompting system for people with ABI, presenting design guidelines to improve the presentation of conveyed information, to increase the effectiveness of conveyed prompts, to facilitate information input and reduce user errors, and techniques to provide help to the users and improve learnability.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Colleges/Schools: College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering
Supervisor's Name: Brewster, Professor Stephen and Evans, Professor Jonathan
Date of Award: 2021
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2021-82483
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 06 Oct 2021 15:38
Last Modified: 06 Oct 2021 18:17
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.82483
URI: https://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/82483

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