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review of Voice XML and Voice Menu systems

From: lisa.seeman <lisa.seeman@zoho.com>
Date: Tue, 26 Aug 2014 14:36:50 +0300
To: "public-cognitive-a11y-tf" <public-cognitive-a11y-tf@w3.org>
Message-Id: <148121a7ee2.be430142143821.5756424861542295699@zoho.com>

Voice XML and Voice Menu systems
 Examples are from http://www.w3.org/TR/voicexml20/
 Voice menu systems and Voice XML enable voice dialogs systems and voice browsers. It is used for developing audio and voice response applications, such as telephone menu systems, banking systems and automated customer service portals. Users interact with voice browsers via the public switched telephone network (PSTN). These systems are very similar to other automated telephone menu systems and may issues overlap.
 It is worth noting that many crucial systems are dependent on this technology such as emergency notification, healthcare or prescription refilling, and others. Therefor full accessibility needs to be supported.
 The following ask the user "For sports press 1, For weather press 2, For Stargazer astrophysics press 3." and weights for a response.
  &lt;menu&gt; &lt;property name="inputmodes" value="dtmf"/&gt; &lt;prompt&gt; For sports press 1, For weather press 2, For Stargazer astrophysics press 3. &lt;/prompt&gt; &lt;choice dtmf="1" next="http://www.sports.example.com/vxml/start.vxml"/&gt; &lt;choice dtmf="2" next="http://www.weather.example.com/intro.vxml"/&gt; &lt;choice dtmf="3" next="http://www.stargazer.example.com/astronews.vxml"/&gt; &lt;/menu&gt; &lt;/vxml&gt; The following is an example of a form that fills up input values for variable "acctnum":  &lt;form id="basic"&gt; &lt;field name="acctnum"&gt; &lt;grammar type="application/srgs+xml" src="/grammars/digits.grxml"/&gt; &lt;prompt&gt; What is your account number? &lt;/prompt&gt; &lt;/field&gt;&lt;/form&gt; Accessibility is sites for the hard of hearing, and WCAG and WAI specification are cited as being relevent (see http://www.w3.org/TR/voicexml20/#dmlAAccessibility) Beyond that, no examples or concerns are identified for cognitive accessibility.
 The following issues need to be addressed for our user groups.
 The user should be able to extend or disable Time out as a default
Error recovery should be simple, and take you to a human operator
It must be easy to get though to a human. I suggest that there is a defualt setting to get though to a human
Some users need more time. Extra time should be a user setting for both the speed of speech and ability for the user to define if they need a slower speech or more input time etc. 
Pauses are important between phrases that allow processing time of language and options
Examples should show how to build a prompt that reduces the cognitive load
 Example1: Reducing cognitive load:
 press 1 for the the secreter, (you need to remember the 1 while interpreting the term secretery) is less good then
 for the secretary (pause): press 1 or
 for the secretary (pause) or for more help (pause): press 1 Example 2: Setting a defualt for a humen operator
 The digit 9 (or other value) could be a reserved number for reaching a humen operator. Settign 9 (assuming that is the reserved digit) to meen anything else will give an error.
 The digit 0 (or other value) could be a reserved number for going back to the last menu (error recovery). Settign 0 (assuming that is the reserved digit) to mean anything else will give an error.
 Currently Voice XML does not seem to be used to improve accessibility for people with cognitive disabilities and in may case seems to decrease it. No author strategies are defined to this improve this situation. Until this issue is addressed many critical functions such as emergency and medical support, will become less and less accessible to people with cognitive disabilities.

All the best

Lisa Seeman

Athena ICT Accessibility Projects 
LinkedIn, Twitter
Received on Tuesday, 26 August 2014 11:39:24 UTC

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