Sotto Voce: Exploring the interplay of conversation and mobile audio spaces

Paul M. Aoki, Rebecca E. Grinter, Amy Hurst, Margaret H. Szymanski, James D. Thornton, Allison Woodruff

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


In addition to providing information to individual visitors, electronic guidebooks have the potential to facilitate social interaction between visitors and their companions. However, many systems impede visitor interaction. By contrast, our electronic guidebook, Sotto Voce, has social interaction as a primary design goal. The system enables visitors to share audio information - specifically, they can hear each other's guidebook activity using a technologically mediated audio eavesdropping mechanism. We conducted a study of visitors using Sotto Voce while touring a historic house. The results indicate that visitors are able to use the system effectively, both as a conversational resource and as an information appliance. More surprisingly, our results suggest that the technologically mediated audio often cohered the visitors' conversation and activity to a far greater degree than audio delivered through the open air.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages8
StatePublished - 2002
EventConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Minneapolis, MN, United States
Duration: Apr 20 2002Apr 25 2002


OtherConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityMinneapolis, MN


  • Electronic guidebooks
  • Interaction analysis
  • Shared audio

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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