Should a Robot Guide Like a Human? A Qualitative Four-Phase Study of a Shopping Mall Robot

Päivi Heikkilä (Corresponding author), Hanna Lammi, Marketta Niemelä, Kathleen Belhassein, Guillaume Sarthou, Antti Tammela, Aurélie Clodic, Rachid Alami

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference article in proceedingsScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Providing guidance to customers in a shopping mall is a suitable task for a social service robot. To be useful for customers, the guidance needs to be intuitive and effective. We conducted a four-phase qualitative study to explore what kind of guidance customers need in a shopping mall, which characteristics make human guidance intuitive and effective there, and what aspects of the guidance should be applied to a social robot. We first interviewed staff working at the information booth of a shopping mall and videotaped demonstrated guidance situations. In a human-human guidance study, ten students conducted seven way-finding tasks each to ask guidance from a human guide. We replicated the study setup to study guidance situations with a social service robot with eight students and four tasks. The robot was controlled using Wizard of Oz technique. The characteristics that make human guidance intuitive and effective, such as estimation of the distance to the destination, appropriate use of landmarks and pointing gestures, appear to have the same impact when a humanoid robot gives the guidance. Based on the results, we identified nine design implications for a social guidance robot in a shopping mall.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSocial Robotics - 11th International Conference, ICSR 2019, Proceedings
EditorsMiguel A. Salichs, Shuzhi Sam Ge, Emilia Ivanova Barakova, John-John Cabibihan, Alan R. Wagner, Álvaro Castro-González, Hongsheng He
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-35888-4
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-35887-7
Publication statusPublished - 2019
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
Event11th International Conference on Social Robotics, ICSR 2019 - Madrid, Spain
Duration: 26 Nov 201929 Nov 2019
Conference number: 11

Publication series

SeriesLecture Notes in Computer Science


Conference11th International Conference on Social Robotics, ICSR 2019
Abbreviated titleICSR 2019


  • Shopping mall robot
  • Robot guidance
  • Design implications
  • Multi-phased study
  • Social robots

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