Spearcons improve navigation performance and perceived speediness in Korean auditory menus

Hyewon Suh, Georgia Institute of Technology
Myounghoon Jeon, Michigan Technological University
Bruce N. Walker

Copyright 2016 Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. Publisher's version of record: https://doi.org/10.1177/1071181312561390


For decades, auditory menus using both speech (usually text-to-speech, TTS) and non-speech sounds have been extensively studied. Researchers have developed situation-optimized auditory menus involving such cues as auditory icons, earcons, spearcons, and spindex. Spearcons have generally outperformed other cues in terms of providing both contextual information and item-specific information. However, little research has been devoted to exploration of spearcons in languages other than English, or the use of spearcon-only auditory menus. In this study, we evaluated the use of spearcons in Korean menus, as well as the use of spearcons alone. Twenty-five native Korean speakers navigated through a two-dimensional auditory menu presented via TTS, with or without spearcon enhancements. Korean spearcons were successful. Participants also rated the spearcon-enhanced menu as seeming speedier and more fun than the TTS-only menu. After a short learning period, mean time-to-target in the auditory menu was even faster with spearcons alone, compared to traditional TTS-only menus.