Spoken Humanoid Embodied Conversational Agents in Mobile Serious Games: A Usability Assessment

by   Danai Korre, et al.

This paper presents an empirical investigation of the extent to which spoken Humanoid Embodied Conversational Agents (HECAs) can foster usability in mobile serious game (MSG) applications. The aim of the research is to assess the impact of multiple agents and illusion of humanness on the quality of the interaction. The experiment investigates two styles of agent presentation: an agent of high human-likeness (HECA) and an agent of low human-likeness (text). The purpose of the experiment is to assess whether and how agents of high humanlikeness can evoke the illusion of humanness and affect usability. Agents of high human-likeness were designed by following the ECA design model that is a proposed guide for ECA development. The results of the experiment with 90 participants show that users prefer to interact with the HECAs. The difference between the two versions is statistically significant with a large effect size (d=1.01), with many of the participants justifying their choice by saying that the human-like characteristics of the HECA made the version more appealing. This research provides key information on the potential effect of HECAs on serious games, which can provide insight into the design of future mobile serious games.


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