Title:The Power of Speech: Connecting Audiences in Dialogue with Voice User Interfaces
Authors:Scott Gillam, Benjamin Bergman
Publication:MW2020: MuseWeb 2020

Voice-enabled interfaces are challenging the long dominance of graphical user interfaces in creating interactions that feel more personalized, authentic and approachable. This paper offers a case study on VUI (Voice User Interfaces) in connection with an interactive component of an exhibition, Time to Act. This case study reviews how our team developed a VUI interface – the content choices, the technical challenges, along with detailing some of our found solutions.

Time to Act: Rohingya Voices, is an exhibition that opened in the summer of 2019, created by the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR). The exhibition compassionately portrays the plight of the Rohingya people, whom after decades of violent persecution, have suffered genocide at the hands of Myanmar military forces and an ongoing humanitarian crisis. People and communities worldwide are compelled to consider what action to take.

One of the challenges for this exhibition was to immerse visitors in its content in a way that emphasized its relevance, encouraged empathy, and directly connected them to the subject matter. Leveraging VUI as the primary interface, along with supplementary visual, auditory, and tactile components enabled voice interaction between museum visitors and Rohingya now living in Canada. Careful consideration of the CMHR's universal design approach also paved the way for innovation, allowing for verbal, non-verbal, tactile, visual, and auditory elements that supported a fully accessible experience for audiences of all abilities. Employing voice as a primary input method led to strong performance and evaluation of visitor engagement, pointing the way towards a more integrated and holistic user experience.