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Hidden menu options in automated human - computer telephone dialogues: dissonance in the user's mental model

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This paper explores the consequences of adopting an alternative strategy to that of explicitly listing all options within the main menu of a speech-driven automated telephone banking service. An existing service was augmented with an overdraft request dialogue, accessible at its main menu, which could be triggered using the keyword "overdraft". However, the keyword was not explicitly mentioned as an option in the main menu. Instead, system-initiated proposals for an overdraft were introduced into the call flow, notifying callers that they could apply for an overdraft by saying "overdraft" at the main menu. An experiment with 114 participants was carried out to investigate the effectiveness of this strategy as a way of offering new services without increasing the length of the main menu. Results showed that a significant proportion of participants (37%) did not succeed in completing an overdraft request. The reasons for this failure are discussed.

Keywords: Human-computer dialogues; Menus; Speech recognition

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Centre for Communication Interface Research, University of Edinburgh, UK

Publication date: 2007-11-01

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