D'haro Enríquez, Luis Fernando and Córdoba Herralde, Ricardo de and San Segundo Hernández, Rubén and Ferreiros López, Javier and Pardo Muñoz, José Manuel
Design and evaluation of acceleration strategies for speeding up the development of dialog applications.
"Speech Communication", v. 53
In this paper, we describe a complete development platform that features different innovative acceleration strategies, not included in any other current platform, that simplify and speed up the definition of the different elements required to design a spoken dialog service. The proposed accelerations are mainly based on using the information from the backend database schema and contents, as well as cumulative information produced throughout the different steps in the design. Thanks to these accelerations, the interaction between the designer and the platform is improved, and in most cases the design is reduced to simple confirmations of the “proposals” that the platform dynamically provides at each step.
In addition, the platform provides several other accelerations such as configurable templates that can be used to define the different tasks in the service or the dialogs to obtain or show information to the user, automatic proposals for the best way to request slot contents from the user (i.e. using mixed-initiative forms or directed forms), an assistant that offers the set of more probable actions required to complete the definition of the different tasks in the application, or another assistant for solving specific modality details such as confirmations of user answers or how to present them the lists of retrieved results after querying the backend database. Additionally, the platform also allows the creation of speech grammars and prompts, database access functions, and the possibility of using mixed initiative and over-answering dialogs. In the paper we also describe in detail each assistant in the platform, emphasizing the different kind of methodologies followed to facilitate the design process at each one.
Finally, we describe the results obtained in both a subjective and an objective evaluation with different designers that confirm the viability, usefulness, and functionality of the proposed accelerations. Thanks to the accelerations, the design time is reduced in more than 56% and the number of keystrokes by 84%.