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FYI: please and thank you

From: Al Gilman <asgilman@iamdigex.net>
Date: Wed, 20 Mar 2002 13:33:23 -0500
Message-Id: <200203201833.NAA1362390@smtp2.mail.iamworld.net>
To: www-voice@w3.org
This is just a tip for the industry.

** thank you

A week or so ago I was cruising Interstate 81 through the western reaches of Virginia and had the pleasure of playing with the "dial 511" information service offered there.

I got the information that I wanted and reflexively moved to close the dialog by saying "thank you."

The voice portal responded "I'm sorry, I didn't catch that...."

Wrong move.  Too many people were brought up with manners.  This is just a gap in the completeness of the conversational illusion.  Where you succeed, you have to anticipate politeness from your customers.

"Thank you" [localized as required] should be on the global catch list for a voice portal, and should get you a simple "more [e.g. weather], main menu or goodbye?" prompt.  Or something like that.

** please

One the 511 system on I-81, there were options of 'weather' or 'weather information' to ask for weather information.  Please consider that the long form should be 'Weather, please.' instead of 'weather information.'  

This is derived from a tip I picked up from an occupational therapist who was training people with new motor disabilities to return to work with the aid of speech command software.  All the macro comands that they defined in that practice ended in ', please.'  I think you will find this has a better combination of "discriminant value among voice signals" and "ready uptake by your users" than the '-information' suffix.  In English particularly, the word 'information' is just too easy to mumble.

Universal Access[1] revolves around always having implementations for the pre-literate grunts that are the core of commodity conversation:  Hunh? in human dialog subsumes 'help' and 'about' and 'expand.'  etc. as known in the more-refined command options of HCI.  Please and Thank You are so ingrained that we should build on them, not ignore them.


[1] See for example
EZ Access Interface Techniques

Received on Wednesday, 20 March 2002 13:33:27 UTC

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