Opening the Kimono

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					                                                                                                                                    MELANIE
                                                                                                                                   POLKOSKY
                                                                                                                          INTERACT


Opening the Kimono
               Lessons learned from some past speech deployment mistakes
                        was recently pulled into discussions with several allowing the organization to pick and choose recommenda-
                 I      organizations for whom speech did not meet expec- tions and often rendering each vendor’s advice ineffective.
               tations. In each case, the organization’s leaders threw up            • Lack of predeployment usability testing—One of the
               their hands, cried “uncle,” and went back to their comfort- biggest advantages of usability testing is its predictive power.
               able touch-tone applications. Now, some folks are passionate If a test is well-designed and the participant sample matches
               about speech technology, so the mere inkling that someone the user population, then you get a pretty accurate idea of
               might be less than a fan seems hard to fathom. On the other what to expect when an application deploys. In many cases,
               hand, keeping a circumspect, decidedly agnostic view of tech- usability testing wasn’t done, or it wasn’t done well, which
               nology is what human factors folks do best. It’s easy to emo- made production usage a giant (and unwelcome) surprise.
               tionally react in a so-called “failure” situation and conclude        • Spaghetti-like business logic—Although this is a very
               that speech technology is useless—a conclusion of conven- common problem, its implications are clear. If the script is
               ience that’s not necessarily accurate.                             hamstrung by business logic that requires a historical
                  For our New Year’s resolutions, we speech types need to be overview and organizational chart to explain, the user
               a little more reflective and honest about the gating factors on won’t be able to navigate the application.
               telephone-based interaction success (speech                                                       • Lack of change management—This
               and touch-tone). Designers can support                    Designers can                       problem came in two versions: design,
               success by knowing and helping to mitigate             support success by                     deploy, and put it in the closet and forget
               the pitfalls that make speech unsuccessful.           knowing and helping                     about it; or let anyone with an opinion pro-
                  If we peek inside the kimono, we will                  to mitigate the                     pose and implement changes. In many
               see that each organization where speech                 pitfalls that make                    companies, changes were proposed for
               failed had some combination of the fol-               speech unsuccessful.                    unverified problems, introducing more seri-
               lowing characteristics:                                                                       ous usability problems than what origi-
                  • Decentralized control of the interactive voice response (IVR) nally existed. From there, it was a slippery slide to unusability.
               system—This didn’t necessarily mean the company didn’t             
				
DOCUMENT INFO
Description: For their New Year's resolutions, speech types need to be a little more reflective and honest about the gating factors on telephone-based interaction success (speech and touch-tone). Designers can support success by knowing and helping to mitigate the pitfalls that make speech unsuccessful. If they peek inside the kimono, they will see that each organization where speech failed had some combination of the following characteristics: 1. decentralized control of the interactive voice response system, 2. lack of knowledge diversity, 3. limited outcome metrics, 4. lack of trust, 5. lack of predeployment usability testing, 6. spaghetti-like business logic, 7. lack of change management, and 8. ripple-effect refusal.
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