Are Current Voice Interfaces Designed to Support Children’s Language Development?


With the rapid development of artificial intelligence, voice user interfaces (VUIs) capable of speech-based interaction are poised to support children’s language development by serving as their language partners. This paper reports an analytic evaluation of the currently available voice-based apps targeting young children to examine whether and how they incorporate evidence-based dialogue strategies that effectively support children’s learning. We found that, despite the fact that the current apps support a variety of language activities, most fail to carry out open-ended dialogue and provide extended back-and-forth opportunities, thus limiting their ability to encourage children’s language output and increase children’s language exposure. We discuss four design implications for developing VUIs that initiate dialogue and provide feedback in ways that better facilitate children’s language learning.



Ying Xu, Stacy Branham, Xinwei Deng, Penelope Collins, and Mark Warschauer


CHI 2021