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Design and Usability of Interactive Voice Response Systems for Emerging Markets

Nohwar, Abhimanyu; Prabhu, Beena; Bali, Kalika; Prabhu, Girish

HPL-2005-49
External - Copyright Consideration

Keyword(s): interactive voice response; emerging markets; dialog design; wizard of oz test

Abstract: Interactive Voice Response Models (IVR) models, which are common in the West, have a fundamental relevance in the context of emerging markets and developing economies like India because of low literacy levels, multiple languages and low levels of English use. India, specifically, has a very 'verbal' culture, where, in addition to English and Hindi, 14 other officially recognized languages are spoken. HP labs is conducting research in enhancing the reach of Information Technology to the masses by creating applications in local languages in verticals like transportation, and is developing a generic system that will cater to any service like healthcare, business, banking etc. Currently, a proof of concept is being built to handle railway reservation and enquiry for the Indian railways, and supports both Indian English and Hindi speech input and output. Since the system is targeted towards the general Indian population which is expected to have a percentage of people that are not technology savvy, development of a user-friendly and easy-to-use system is imperative. Accordingly, this project deals extensively with speech interaction design and usability testing through an iterative, user centered design process. The system has been through multiple usability tests and iterative design cycles. The system is being modified based on the input from these usability tests and will be taken into a field study in a live environment. In this paper we will discuss the methodology and results of the user-centred design process used to implement the IVR system, and present our experiences and learning from conducting these tests. Notes: Abhimanyu Nohwar and Beena Prabhu, Human Factors International, 4th Floor, Chemtex House, Hiranandani Gardens, Mumbai - 400 076, India

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