Six Speaking Chairs
(not directly) for People Who
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[ 1] Pullin, G. and Cook,
A. “Six Speaking
Chairs.” August 2008.
There are some commonly held assumptions
about the future of speech technology, and our
interactions with it, that we wish to challenge.
Our goal with “Six Speaking Chairs” is to explore
alternative perspectives rather than to converge
on solutions at this first stage. We would therefore describe this activity as design research,
even though it involves our practice as interaction designers.
We have built a collection of objects, each of
which embodies a different way of thinking about
tone of voice. It is better to view the chairs as
provocations than as prototypes in the conven-
tional sense, because their most important role is
to spark discussion rather than to test proposals.
The chairs are not to be taken literally. It’s not
about chairs at all—they are really just illustra-
tions of principles, more so even than sketches of
user interfaces. Each illustrates what might oth-
erwise be a rather esoteric mental model, making
it accessible to experts and non-experts alike and
engaging both in conversation and reflection [ 1].