Human-to-Machine Interaction in Natural Language: Empirical Results of Field Studies with an English and a German Interface
Questions of feasibility and desirability of natural langauge interfaces for human-machine interactions gain more and more interest in empirical research. There is growing consensus that field studies provide valuable leads with respect to design decisions.
One of the most important aspects of user friendly interfaces are the restriction rules. The problem is how to restrict the diversity of communicative use of the human native language without losing the advantage of this form of communication with computers.
The paper tries to answer this question on the basis of several empirical studies which investigate the same domain-independent natural langauge query system, using various applications in two different natural languages - - English and German. The studies were performed in cooperation with the IBM Heidelberg Scientific Center (West Germany), the New York University (Advanced Language Project), and the Department of Linguistic Information Science at the University of Regensburg (West Germany). Altogether, these experiments involved about 100 subjects and over 12,000 queries, constituting the bulk of empirical evaluations of natural query language systems reported to date. Results of these experiments are presented and one of the most recent successful software packages Q&A is discussed with respect to the selected restriction rules.
KeywordsNatural Language Query Language Linguistic Information Database Query Restriction Rule
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