The effects of recognition accuracy and vocabulary size of a speech recognition system on task performance and user acceptance

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Virginia Tech


Automatic speech recognition systems have at last advanced to the state that they are now a feasible alternative for human-machine communication in selected applications. As such, research efforts are now beginning to focus on characteristics of the human, the recognition device, and the interface which optimize the system performance, rather than the previous trend of determining factors affecting recognizer performance alone. This study investigated two characteristics of the recognition device, the accuracy level at which it recognizes speech, and the vocabulary size of the recognizer as a percent of task vocabulary size to determine their effects on system performance. In addition, the study considered one characteristic of the user, age. Briefly, subjects performed a data entry task under each of the treatment conditions. Task completion time and the number of errors remaining at the end of each session were recorded. After each session, subjects rated the recognition device used as to its acceptability for the task.

The accuracy level at which the recognizer was performing significantly influenced the task completion time as well as the user's acceptability ratings, but had only a small effect on the number of errors left uncorrected. The available vocabulary size also significantly affected the task completion time; however, its effect on the final error rate and on the acceptability ratings was negligible. The age of the subject was also found to influence both objective and subjective measures. Older subjects in general required longer times to complete the tasks; however, they consistently rated the speech input systems more favorably than the younger subjects.