Response to: ACTION-125: Find standards for voice (Cognitive Accessibility Task Force)

The ETSI standards documents

The main ETSI document that relates to the proposal to use "0" to get human help is ETR 096 (downloadable from ). This document is now 22 years old, but it is still relevant for those aspects of phone-based interfaces (PBIs) that it covers. The predominant (N. America) company that provided a PBI platform and set the de-facto standards was involved in the team that drafted the standard.

ETR 096 specifies two standardized menu items - "0" for "help" and "*" for "cancel". These particular key assignments (particularly the 0) are still the de-facto standard in greatest use around the world.

The other document that Debbie referred to in the call (I presume) is ES 202 076 (downloadable from ). It "is applicable to the functions required for user interface navigation, call handling, the control of and navigation in media, and management of device and service settings". It gives names for all of these functions in 30 languages (languages most spoken in Europe).

The names included are those used by native speakers in response to Carefully Worded Descriptions (CWDs) that described the various functions. The much simpler approach of translating the English term for each function into different languages is not an appropriate way to generate good language-specific function names as the names will not be what the native speakers recognise and understand.

Issues that we discussed in the calls about the selection of icons (for functions) that different users might use raises a major selection problem. ETSI has also done a lot of work in the past on the choice of symbols for telecoms functions and the trials needed to ensure that symbols are meaningful to a majority of the population are large and expensive. Attempting to factor in the differences in understanding that might occur between different sub-groups of users (older users, users with Down syndrome, ASD users, etc.) would be massively more complex than the inter-language differences that were taken into account in the function naming in ES 202 076.

Thoughts on implementation of the "0" for assistance option

In the links that Debbie sent us, there is a section on "Zero-Outs" (at ) that encourages service providers to support the "0" option but also shows the operational reasons why the option:

a)   is rarely immediately revealed to callers or;

b)   not implemented at all (this is recommended against).

For users with cognitive impairments who NEED help, hiding (or delaying) the "0" for human assistance option is unacceptable. Doing this may cause anxiety or it may be beyond the user's ability to work out how to access the assistance.

The "Zero-Outs" page shows why most services might resist any advice we give to always provide a clear link to human assistance (everyone would use it and they would be swamped!!!).

I suspect that this may be another case where personalization may be needed. The default behaviour on a webpage could then be that display of the "0" option is masked or made more difficult to access and that only a specific user profile preference will allow unlocking of a mode where this assistance is made very upfront and clear.

Best regards


Received on Wednesday, 29 July 2015 14:55:18 UTC