Graduation Year

2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Computer Science and Engineering

Major Professor

Dewey Rundus

Keywords

Auditory User Interfaces, Human-Computer Interaction, Music Browser, Parallel Output, Simultaneous Sounds, Wii Remote

Abstract

The typical approach for finding audio recordings, such as music and sound effects, in a database is to enter some textual information into a search field. The results appear summarized in a list of textual descriptions of the audio files along with a function for playing back the recordings. Exploring such a list sequentially is a time-consuming and tedious way to search for sounds. This research evaluates whether searching for audio information can become more effective with a user interface capable of presenting multiple audio streams simultaneously.

A prototype audio player was developed with a user interface suitable for both search and browsing of a hierarchically organized audio collection. The audio recordings are presented either serially (serial output mode) or simultaneously (parallel output mode), spatially distributed in both vertical and horizontal planes. Users select individual recordings by simply pointing at its source location with a remote control.

Two within-subjects experiments were conducted to compare the performance of the audio player's output modes in audio search tasks. The experiments differ in the maximum number of audio recordings played simultaneously - either four or six. In both experiments, search tasks were performed about 25% faster using parallel audio output than using serial output. Over 80% of participants preferred searching parallel output.

The results indicate that using parallel output can be a valuable improvement to the current methods of audio search, which typically use only serial output.

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