Myths of multimodal interaction

In Ten myths of multimodal interaction (Communications of the ACM, Vol. 42 , No. 11, pp. 74 - 81, 1999), Sharon Oviatt describes common myths about multimodal interaction (i.e. interacting with a computer using more different input/outputs, like mouse/voice/keyboards or more recent technologies). The myths she is describing are quite relevant to lots of HCI research:

  • Myth #1: If you build a multimodal system, users will interact multimodally.
  • Myth#2: Speech and pointing is the dominant multimodal integration pattern.
  • Myth #3: Multimodal input involves simultaneous signals.
  • Myth #4: Speech is the primary input mode in any multimodal system that includes it.
  • Myth #5: Multimodal language does not differ linguistically from unimodal language.
  • Myth #6: Multimodal integration involves redundancy of content between modes.
  • Myth #7: Individual error-prone recognition technologies combine multimodally to produce even greater unreliability.
  • Myth #8: All users’ multimodal commands are integrated in a uniform way
  • Myth #9: Different input modes are capable of transmitting comparable content.during periods of blank staring.
  • Myth #10: Enhanced efficiency is the main advantage of multimodal systems

The article is full of interesting examples that explains how each of these myths can be deconsctructed.