Alex Sciuto, Arnita Saini, Jodi Forlizzi, and Jason I. Hong


Designing Interactive Systems (DIS)


June 2018


In-home, place-based, conversational agents have exploded in popularity over the past three years. In particular, Amazon’s conversational agent, Alexa, now dominates the market and is in millions of homes. This paper presents two complementary studies investigating the experience of households living with a conversational agent over an extended period of time. First, we gathered the history logs of 75 Alexa participants and quantitatively analyzed over 278,000 commands. Second, we performed seven in-home, contextual interviews of Alexa owners focusing on how their household interacts with Alexa. Our findings give the first glimpse of how households integrate Alexa into their lives. We found interesting behaviors around purchasing and acclimating to Alexa, in the number and physical placement of devices, and in daily use patterns. Participants also uniformly described interactions between children and Alexa. We conclude with suggestions for future improvement for intelligent conversational agents.

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