How to Build a Speech Recognition Application: A Style Guide for Telephony Dialogues Second Edition, by Bruce Balentine and David P. Morgan, softcover, 392 pages, 2001,$29.95

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Overview

This style guide aims to give speech recognition practitioners the groundwork for the basic elements of style that have the most impact on the effectiveness of telephony interfaces.  This includes the same principles of expression important to the written work - the proper use of tense and mood, the placement of keywords in prompts, the effects of person, gender, number, the declaration of fact without prejudice and, perhaps most importantly, the clear and simple expression of the here and now.  It also expands on these basic principles to organize and codify the dynamic aspects of spoken dialogues - the interactive control over whose turn it is to speak, the communication of state changes that leads the user to construct a meaningful utterance, and perhaps most importantly, proper management of the users' ability to accomplish their goals.

This style guide is designed specifically for those involved with developing Voice Response Unit  (VRU) applications.  Within that group these guidelines should appeal to a number of different readers:

  • Interface Designers
  • Product and Project Managers
  • Developers
  • Product Marketing Managers, and
  • Application Testers

The book will also be of interest to those who have a stake in the success of VRU applications, including account managers, call center managers, and customer service personnel of all kinds.

Table of Contents

  1. The Telephony User Interface
    • A Style Guide For User Interfaces
    • Basic Speech Interface Concepts
    • Terminology
    • How This Book Is Organized
  2. Spoken Machine Output
    • Physical Properties of Machine Speech
    • Wording of Spoken Output
    • Prompts
    • Feedback
    • Instructions
    • Help
    • Application Data
  3. Selecting The Vocabulary
    •  The Recognizer's Impact On Vocabulary Selection
    • Consistency in Vocabulary Selection
  4. Barge-In and Turn Taking
    • Implementing Barge-In
    • Choosing a Turn-Taking Protocol
    • Implementing Full-Duplex Designs
    • Implementing Half-Duplex Designs
  5. Tones
    • Non-Speech Audio
    • When To Use Tones
    • Prompting Tones
    • Feedback/Confirmation Tones
    • Context Tones
  6. Dialogue Design
    • Dialogue Models
    • Menus
    • Yes-No Queries
    • Reusable Dialogue Components
  7. Mixed Modalities: Speech and DTMF
    • Switching Between Speech and DTMF
    • Mixing Speech and DTMF
  8. Natural Language Interfaces
    • What Is Natural Language?
    • Reaching Terminals In The Hierarchy
    • NL Prompt Design
    • NL Error Prevention and Recovery
    • Challenges in Implementing NL Systems
  9. Personified Interfaces
    • Issues With Personification
    • Choosing Personality Traits
    • The HANC Application Persona
  10. Error Recovery and Prevention
    • Detecting and Handling Errors
    • User-Initiated Error Recovery
    • Machine-Initiated Corroboration or Recovery
    • Error Prevention
  11. Usability Tests and Performance Reports
    • Introduction To Usability Testing
    • Laboratory Tests
    • Wizard of Oz and Prototype Testing
    • Logging and Reporting
    • Summary

Appendix A:  NL Hardware Provisioning

Appendix B:  Voice Portals

Appendix C:  Voice Talent and Recording

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