The Power of Speech: Connecting Audiences in Dialogue with Voice User Interfaces


Friday, April 03, 2020: 11:00am - 12:20pm -

Scott Gillam, Canadian Museum for Human Rights, Canada, Benjamin Bergman, Canadian Museum for Human Rights, Canada

Voice-enabled interfaces are challenging the long dominance of graphical user interfaces in creating interactions that feel more personalized, authentic and approachable. An example of this technology can be found in Time to Act: Rohingya Voices, an exhibition that opened in the summer of 2019, created by the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. It compassionately portrays the plight of the Rohingya people, whom after decades of violent persecution, have suffered the genocide of their people by Myanmar military forces, followed by an ongoing humanitarian crisis. People and communities worldwide are compelled to consider what action to take. The challenge undertaken by a component of this exhibition was to immerse visitors within content in a way that encouraged relevance, empathy, and to connect to the subject matter in a direct way. Leveraging Voice User Interfaces (VUI) as the primary interface, along with supplementary visual, auditory, and tactile components enable voice interaction between museum visitors and Rohingya now living in Canada. Careful consideration leveraging the CMHR’s universal design approach also paved the way for innovation; allowing for verbal, non-verbal, tactile, visual, and auditory elements that support a fully accessible experience for audiences of all abilities. Employing voice as a primary input method has led to strong performance and evaluation of visitor engagement, pointing the way towards a more integrated and holistic user experience.

Bibliography to come.