An Iterative Interaction-Design Method for Multi-Modal Robot Communication

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3 Citations (Scopus)


The design space of human-robot interaction is large and multi-dimensional. A sound design requires a systematic theory-driven exploration, specification and refinement of design variables. There is a need for a practical method and tool to iteratively specify the content of the dialogue (e.g., speech acts) with the accompanying expressive behavior (e.g., gesture openness) as prescribed by social science theory, e.g., task- and person-oriented communication. This paper presents an iterative interaction-design (ID) method for multi-modal robot communication. Following the ID-method, a designer first creates his/her own individual design and, subsequently, provides an iteration to the evolving iterative design. To support the design method, we developed an ID-tool (available for download). The tool support entails (a) selecting the theory-based communication style; (b) creating and linking the dialogue act components for the concerning use case; and (c) setting the associated expression parameters. We conducted a study with Industrial Design students (N=13) who followed the ID-method and used our tool to design person- and task-oriented communications for a reception robot. Our method produced distinctive task- and person-oriented dialogue styles, i.e., provided the predicted theory-based multi-modal communicative behaviors. The task-oriented style showed a more formal, shorter and less chatty communication. Overall, there was a rather smooth design convergence process, in which the individual designs were harmonized into the iterative design. For the selected design problem, the ID-tool had a satisfactory usability. Next steps include validation of the communication styles in an empirical study and, subsequently, identification of reusable design patterns.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Robot and Human Interactive Communication (RO-MAN)
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-7281-6075-7
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventThe 29th IEEE International Conference on Robot and Human Interactive Communication - 2020 VIRTUAL CONFERENCE
Duration: 31 Aug 20204 Sept 2020
Conference number: 29


ConferenceThe 29th IEEE International Conference on Robot and Human Interactive Communication
Abbreviated titleRo-MAN 2020

Bibliographical note

Virtual/online event due to COVID-19


  • Human-Robot Interaction
  • Multi-modal Communication
  • Iterative Design
  • Communication Styles
  • Expressive Behaviors
  • Interaction Design
  • Reception Robot


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