Speech Recognition Technology for Users with Apraxia: Integrative Review and Sentiment Analysis
Authors: Aimee Roundtree
Abstract: This research exposes the need for more user experience and usability research on speech recognition software for users with apraxia, a speech disability. It provides feedback about common speech recognition devices from users with apraxia and speech impediments. The relatively high prevalence of apraxia and other speech disorders suggests that a large population may need technology to help improve quality of life and socialization. Speech and audio processing software might help improve both. Voice-controlled software and personal assistants can only improve this community’s lives if they provide parity of user experience. The article provides an overview of research insights and public feedback to help designers create more user-centered speech recognition software for this population. First, the article offers an integrative review of article findings from 2009 to 2020. Only 9 of 120 provided sufficient detail about the 20% of the users diagnosed with apraxia. The studies covered therapeutic rather than mundane settings. Only about a fifth of the users and participants recruited for the studies were diagnosed with apraxia of speech, a particular disorder that directly impacts speech recognition accuracy and precision. The samples were often heterogeneous in speech diagnosis, gender, and age. Others were homogeneous in terms of race and ethnicity. These factors are important because they may impact tone, texture, intonation, and other speech detection variables. Study methods were primarily orthodox user testing involving task scenarios. Second, the research gathers user feedback from users with speech impediments on Twitter. Most of the 143 tweets were negative about the performance of speech recognition technologies. There was far more negative feedback about the technologies and their inability to understand users with apraxia and speech impediments. The tweets did not reveal a wide range of activities, suggesting that the technology is only marginally useful to users with apraxia or speech impediments. Future studies should include more homogeneous samples in terms of speech conditions and more heterogeneous samples in terms of demographics. Future studies should also gather more direct feedback from users and compare technologies, which might require modifying user experience and usability research methods. Furthermore, more research studies reporting product design for this community should detail the user experience and usability testing involved. Finally, product designers should not only test products with diverse populations, including those with disabilities, but they should also test in mundane and therapeutic settings and applications and develop personae to help them keep in mind their particular needs. While recruiting and retaining these users might be difficult, any extra effort will pay dividends in product quality and marketability.
Keywords: speech recognition technology, user experience, usability, disability
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