Default UI standards for phone keypads: Audiotex

30 Dec 2008 - 3:07pm
5 years ago
4 replies
584 reads
John Vaughan - ...
2004

There seem to be some default UI standards in terms of "dedicated" numeric
keypad functionality on most phone-based platforms, s.a:
"1" - Do it
"7" - Delete it
"9" - Save it
"*" - Up one level in hierarchy / Back
"#" - Confirm / Submit entry

Is there a central reference source for such conventions? How pervasive are
they (i.e. conformance by providers, international scene)? Is there an
actual industry "standard"? etc.

Thanks

Comments

30 Dec 2008 - 5:37pm
Phillip Hunter
2006

John,

There are very old semi-standards that companies such as the
pre-breakup AT&T published that also included menu structure
guidelines.

In practice, though, these are not used widely enough to call them
standards. In addition, your example actually mixes a voicemail-type
system references with other more general conventions.

So, a little more context would be helpful to know what you are
after. I've designed and built many DTMF and speech systems and
many good and bad usages abound. In general, though, for customer
service or other information systems, yes, keys 1 - 6 are used for
call reason sorts of options, 8 or * can be used for going back one
level or to the main menu, 9 can be used to end the call, and # for
variable length digit string entry termination.

In voicemail systems, while there should have been a standard based
on or inspired by the Audix system, in reality many companies have
done wonders in butchering what could be a straightforward interface.
To step into fantasyland for a moment though, for the menus, the same
options above could apply. Once listening to a message, 1 can be
"rewind", 3 can be "fast forward", 5 can be message meta-data
(calling number, date, time), 7 can be "delete", 8 can be "reply
to", 9 can "store" the message, * can be "exit" to the menu, and
# can "skip" to the next message. While no real standard exists,
these are similar enough to many existing systems to be quickly
learnable, IMO.

Also, though you didn't ask, 0 should always get the caller to a
person. Or at least to something helpful if not.

Phillip

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=36742

31 Dec 2008 - 3:59pm
John Vaughan - ...
2004

Philip

Thanks for your very thorough response. Informative, tho a little
disappointing in that there don't seem to be much in the way of audiotex
"standards" - even after 30 years of regular usage.

I first entered the emerging UxP field in 1979, when "audiotex" (often
Audix-based) systems were the primary working models for widely accessible
interactivity. As a graphical guy, I moved quickly into the pc-screen w/
full keyboard interface arena as it became the primary and dominant
interactive platform.

My Context for the question:

Hand-held devices are what's happening. That means that many people are now
doing their interactive stuff using a smaller, more constrained video screen
and entering input primarily via numeric keypad.

So I'm wondering if there aren't lessons to be learned and models to be
emulated in the existing / conventional audiotex systems.

As a further step, is it feasible (appropriate) to try to map some of the
standard UI functions in any interface to numeric shortcut keys that are
broadly understood & accepted? Symbolic placeholder that transcends
language barriers.

Net/Net: It appears that - altho audiotex (often voicemail) systems remain
pervasive across the globe - there actually aren't many UI standards to be
mined. But it's a thought...

If you can provide any references to those semi-standards, Philip, it would
be appreciated.

PS

Do you think that "The 411" (for "More Info") has legs?
or "611" for "Contact Us"
or "911" for "Help"(!)

----- Original Message -----
From: "Phillip Hunter" <phillip at speechcycle.com>
To: <discuss at ixda.org>
Sent: Tuesday, December 30, 2008 9:37 AM
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Default UI standards for phone keypads: Audiotex

> John,
>
> There are very old semi-standards that companies such as the
> pre-breakup AT&T published that also included menu structure
> guidelines.
>
> In practice, though, these are not used widely enough to call them
> standards. In addition, your example actually mixes a voicemail-type
> system references with other more general conventions.
>
> So, a little more context would be helpful to know what you are
> after. I've designed and built many DTMF and speech systems and
> many good and bad usages abound. In general, though, for customer
> service or other information systems, yes, keys 1 - 6 are used for
> call reason sorts of options, 8 or * can be used for going back one
> level or to the main menu, 9 can be used to end the call, and # for
> variable length digit string entry termination.
>
> In voicemail systems, while there should have been a standard based
> on or inspired by the Audix system, in reality many companies have
> done wonders in butchering what could be a straightforward interface.
> To step into fantasyland for a moment though, for the menus, the same
> options above could apply. Once listening to a message, 1 can be
> "rewind", 3 can be "fast forward", 5 can be message meta-data
> (calling number, date, time), 7 can be "delete", 8 can be "reply
> to", 9 can "store" the message, * can be "exit" to the menu, and
> # can "skip" to the next message. While no real standard exists,
> these are similar enough to many existing systems to be quickly
> learnable, IMO.
>
> Also, though you didn't ask, 0 should always get the caller to a
> person. Or at least to something helpful if not.
>
> Phillip
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=36742
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help

8 Jan 2009 - 1:01pm
Phillip Hunter
2006

John,

I think that mobile interactions are a whole mostly new area. While
there might be, and should be, some things borrowed from other
devices and environments, the combination of factors at play for
mobile users (broader and more temporal contexts, touchscreens,
softkeys, differing app and browser behaviors, etc.) make it really
hard to say "yes, let's use this thing from the past." For
example, I am unsure that numeric input will be primary. Moreover,
I'm quite sure no one really understands yet what the "standard UI
functions" for mobile are. And certainly there will be context and
task variations of them when we think we do.

One last note. I don't have any references at hand, but I will say
this about voicemail. My hope is that it is changing and
drastically. New (to the public) features such as the visual aspect
on the iPhone and transcription to email are signs of what in my
opinion is a long overdue rethinking of the voice message silo.

ph

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=36742

13 Jan 2009 - 8:26pm
John Vaughan - ...
2004

True enough that new technology may spawn different patterns & behaviors -
but there's also a tremendous inertia to history: Even something as poorly
designed (from a usability perspective) as the QWERTY keyboard persists,
even as we speak...

"New" designs often base their credibility on adherence to existing,
cuddly - or at least familiar - forms

----- Original Message -----
From: "Phillip Hunter" <phillip at speechcycle.com>
To: <discuss at ixda.org>
Sent: Thursday, January 08, 2009 5:01 AM
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Default UI standards for phone keypads: Audiotex

> John,
>
> I think that mobile interactions are a whole mostly new area. While
> there might be, and should be, some things borrowed from other
> devices and environments, the combination of factors at play for
> mobile users (broader and more temporal contexts, touchscreens,
> softkeys, differing app and browser behaviors, etc.) make it really
> hard to say "yes, let's use this thing from the past." For
> example, I am unsure that numeric input will be primary. Moreover,
> I'm quite sure no one really understands yet what the "standard UI
> functions" for mobile are. And certainly there will be context and
> task variations of them when we think we do.
>
> One last note. I don't have any references at hand, but I will say
> this about voicemail. My hope is that it is changing and
> drastically. New (to the public) features such as the visual aspect
> on the iPhone and transcription to email are signs of what in my
> opinion is a long overdue rethinking of the voice message silo.
>
> ph
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=36742
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help

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