Spatial metaphors for a speech-based mobile city guide service

M. Howell, S. Love, Mark Turner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Speech-based automated mobile phone services allow people to access information whilst on the move, but are difficult to use due to the arbitrary assignment of numbers to menu options. For this study, it was hypothesised that the use of spatial interface metaphors could lead to higher levels of usability for a mobile city guide service by capitalising on humans’ well developed spatial ability. One non-metaphor, numbered menu service, and three different spatial metaphor-based services were implemented. The metaphors used were: a travel system, an office filing system and a shopping metaphor. Measures of participant performance with each service and their corresponding subjective evaluations were recorded for each trial. The results indicated that, for first-time users, the non-metaphor service was the most usable, but after three trials, the office filing system metaphor service was the most usable. Navigational cues provided by spatial interface metaphors may improve user attitudes and interactions with automated phone services.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-45
Number of pages14
JournalPersonal and Ubiquitous Computing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2005


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