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ETSI standards and guides referred to in today's COGA TF call

From: Michael Pluke <Mike.Pluke@castle-consult.com>
Date: Mon, 25 Apr 2016 23:39:26 +0000
To: public-cognitive-a11y-tf <public-cognitive-a11y-tf@w3.org>
Message-ID: <A48C91EB13E45544B16FBC94C9298D8D32DB056D@S11MAILD013N2.sh11.lan>
After much hunting through fading memory cells I managed to locate the relevant ETSI document that I referred to in today's COGA TF call. It is:

ETSI ETR 096 "Human Factors (HF); Phone Based Interfaces (PBI)
Human factors guidelines for the design of minimum phone based user interface to computer services: http://www.etsi.org/deliver/etsi_etr/001_099/096/01_60/etr_096e01p.pdf .

It is only a Technical Report and not a standard, but it was developed with the involvement of the principle North American provider of such service in those (long ago) days. It does not in general associate digits with functions, but it does identify "0" as the preferred way to reach an operator and this is widely, but by no means universally, implemented.

The other document that lists potential voice commands in multiple languages, that I think Debbie is already familiar with, is:

ETSI ES 202 076 "Human Factors (HF); User Interfaces; Generic spoken command vocabulary for ICT devices and services": http://www.etsi.org/deliver/etsi_es/202000_202099/202076/02.01.01_60/es_202076v020101p.pdf

I've always been a little puzzled by Debbie's suggestion that ES 202 076 contains a mass of commands that users won't be able to learn. The commands were the words that large samples of people said they would use to elicit a particular function (for each of the 30 languages covered in the standard). The user requirements section said that "a spoken command vocabulary should be intuitive, easy to learn, memorable, natural, and unambiguous" and this set (which I was not involved in developing) seems to me to largely meet that goal.

So we have such difficult to remember commands as "yes" (or alternatively "confirm"), "no", the digits 0 to 9 (with, for example, the alternatives of "zero" or "oh" being acceptable English commands for 0); "record" to record something, "stop" to stop something, "start" to start something, "help" if you are after help,  "goodbye" or "exit" to exit a service (hanging up the phone also works here :)), etc. These seem to be the things that most people would naturally say first and every time, but even if they perversely said something else they would probably say these commands on subsequent attempts.

There are some commands for telephony functions that I suspect might be problematic, but that is as much because most people have no idea how telephone networks work and therefore do not understand the underlying concepts (like diverting and forwarding functions) that are translated into commands. I feel that there are a few other commands that might be less intuitive - so these might have to be learnt, but I feel that these are only a small minority.

This standard is now seven years old and modern systems like Siri, Cortana and Google Now offer a much more robust understanding of user input. However I'd be pretty certain that these systems work best when they hear clear and unambiguous commands like those in ES 202 076 and it would do no harm to require all systems to recognise and appropriately respond to these commands in the way described in ES 202 076!

Best regards

Mike
Received on Monday, 25 April 2016 23:39:58 UTC

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