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Re: [vuids] Re: Random Prompting

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  • Eduardo Olvera
    Even though I agree with the points mentioned below about Dynamic Prompting and Design in general, I think there are actual appropriate uses of random prompts
    Message 1 of 11 , Aug 19, 2009
      Even though I agree with the points mentioned below about Dynamic Prompting and Design in general, I think there are actual appropriate uses of random prompts (by random meaning prompts that are pulled from a pool of possible prompt alternatives, not prompts that are driven by context or dynamic values). For example:

      1) During user identification and/or authentication - asking callers to repeat a random sequence of letters, or asking a random security question from a set, for the purpose of increasing the security of a system (e.g. if someone listens to the answer to your question, they shouldn't be able to call back in and authenticate with the answer they just heard)

      2) To provide tips and/or information once a caller has successfully completed a task or when, based on the context, it makes sense to present information the user might not be aware of - for example, if a system contains many features, or is constantly updated/enhanced, having "By the way" type of prompts at the end once a task has been completed and the user is likely to simply hang-up, it is sometimes useful to present those tips to educate callers about features/services they might not know about

      3) When attempting to help users recover from a situation that might take place so early in a call that we might not know anything about the intent, which the user might visit more than once, and which furthermore might have so many different possibilities that it would be hard to only offer a narrow set of subchoices. For example, on a Natural Language Main Menu Router (SLM), sometimes it is helpful to have a handful of random prompts, each with a slightly different set of suggestions/examples

      4) When trying to break the monotony of repetitive exit prompts that serve a particular purpose but that might not have a direct impact on the outcome of the interaction. For example, on a learning system, if you're asking your user to follow a certain sequence of steps and you're trying to encourage them along the way, it's helpful to have a random set of prompts with various "encouraging" short messages like "That's it", "Perfect", "Nice", "Good job", etc. so that you don't play back the same message over and over again, making it even more apparent that you're dealing with an automated system

      Hope this helps,
      Eduardo


      From: Peter Nann <peter.nann@...>
      To: vuids@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Wednesday, August 19, 2009 3:53:56 PM
      Subject: RE: [vuids] Re: Random Prompting


      I don't think Zeno was coming from an 'entertainment' angle at all.

      My reading is that he was looking for a way to make systems feel less
      'mechanical', and randomizing prompts is a rough (OK, probably poor)
      way of doing that.

      I get where Zeno is coming from - in 20 years I suspect we will look
      back
      on today's VUIs with rigid prompting schemes and probably see them as
      clunky as a system that would say "Does not compute", or "Your response
      was invalid" today.

      But I agree with Phillip that random (as opposed to dynamic, as he
      explained) prompting is quite pointless and very probably
      counter-productive, especially for regular users.
      - Your best prompt design is your best prompt design.
      Randomizing things for no reason can only go one way - down. And it
      makes other things like grammar tuning dicey/harder.


      I hear where you are coming from Zeno, but as Phillip said, I don't
      think you want 'random' prompting, I think you want 'dynamic' prompting
      based on some extra knowledge you have/get about the caller.
      - Otherwise, use the best darned prompt you can come up with.

      (Apologies for that transparent attempt to 'talk American' in that line
      above.  ;-p  )


      -----Original Message-----
      From: vuids@yahoogroups.com [mailto:vuids@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
      Paul Sawyer
      Sent: Thursday, 20 August 2009 12:57 AM
      To: VUIDS discussion list
      Subject: [vuids] Re: Random Prompting


      I agree with Phillip, and would add this:  People come to a system,
      whether web or VUI, to accomplish something, then get on with their
      lives. With few exceptions, they don't come to be entertained by fancy
      graphics or cool prompts. Whatever gets in the way of them accomplishing
      their task is an annoyance. They know it's a machine. It should be a
      pleasant machine, but also an efficient one.

      Hope this helps.
      -Paul Sawyer

      ________________________________________
      Re: Random Prompting
      From: Phillip Hunter
      Posted by: "Phillip Hunter" phillip@...  phillipwhunter
      Mon Aug 17, 2009 6:41 am (PDT)


      Zeno,

      If you mean truly random prompting, that is, changing the prompt for no
      other reason but to have a set of somewhat different prompts, then that
      has
      no place in VUI designs that I can think of. It would simply be a
      gimmick
      enjoyed by the designer. I can't even think of an experimental reason
      for
      it.

      However, if you mean prompt content that changes in accordance with some
      bit
      of context, then the changes are not random and are likely to be helpful
      if
      the context is interpreted correctly and the content changed
      appropriately.
      This type of change more accurately mimics human-human interaction in a
      way
      that is helpful to both caller and application. This is also far easier
      to
      explain to anyone who might be approving your design. Changing prompts
      in
      this way is typically called Dynamic Prompting, not Random.

      All the best,
      Phillip

      On Fri, Aug 14, 2009 at 8:55 AM, vuiwoz <vuiwoz@...> wrote:

      > Hi,
      >
      > I am thinking about Random Prompting. For me, this feature always has
      two
      > sides:
      >
      > (1)
      > It can make an application much more human-like, since humans also
      tend to
      > formulate a certain question/information in different ways.
      >
      > (I know, there are very contradictory opinions, whether a system
      should be
      > human-like or not. But IF you want to have system human-like, Random
      > Prompting could be an effective way and it's easy to implement)
      >
      > (2)
      > On the other hand, it hinders the user from creating a "mental map" of
      the
      > system. This could especially be bad for power-users but also for
      > situations, where the user returns to a certain place within one
      > dialog/call.
      >
      > Does anyone have had experiences with random prompting, or even
      started
      > experiments? Would be very interesting...!
      >
      > Regards,
      > Zeno



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    • Phillip Hunter
      Those are some potentially useful, though quite uncommon, scenarios and would only come up for very specific requirements. But I must point out that #1 is
      Message 2 of 11 , Aug 19, 2009
        Those are some potentially useful, though quite uncommon, scenarios and would only come up for very specific requirements.  But I must point out that #1 is context-dependent (subsequent call) and #2 should be, lest a caller hears the same thing repeated, which is a chance with true use of randomness.

        Phillip

        On Wed, Aug 19, 2009 at 10:45 PM, Eduardo Olvera <ed_olvera@...> wrote:


        Even though I agree with the points mentioned below about Dynamic Prompting and Design in general, I think there are actual appropriate uses of random prompts (by random meaning prompts that are pulled from a pool of possible prompt alternatives, not prompts that are driven by context or dynamic values). For example:

        1) During user identification and/or authentication - asking callers to repeat a random sequence of letters, or asking a random security question from a set, for the purpose of increasing the security of a system (e.g. if someone listens to the answer to your question, they shouldn't be able to call back in and authenticate with the answer they just heard)

        2) To provide tips and/or information once a caller has successfully completed a task or when, based on the context, it makes sense to present information the user might not be aware of - for example, if a system contains many features, or is constantly updated/enhanced, having "By the way" type of prompts at the end once a task has been completed and the user is likely to simply hang-up, it is sometimes useful to present those tips to educate callers about features/services they might not know about

        3) When attempting to help users recover from a situation that might take place so early in a call that we might not know anything about the intent, which the user might visit more than once, and which furthermore might have so many different possibilities that it would be hard to only offer a narrow set of subchoices. For example, on a Natural Language Main Menu Router (SLM), sometimes it is helpful to have a handful of random prompts, each with a slightly different set of suggestions/examples

        4) When trying to break the monotony of repetitive exit prompts that serve a particular purpose but that might not have a direct impact on the outcome of the interaction. For example, on a learning system, if you're asking your user to follow a certain sequence of steps and you're trying to encourage them along the way, it's helpful to have a random set of prompts with various "encouraging" short messages like "That's it", "Perfect", "Nice", "Good job", etc. so that you don't play back the same message over and over again, making it even more apparent that you're dealing with an automated system

        Hope this helps,
        Eduardo


        From: Peter Nann <peter.nann@...>
        To: vuids@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Wednesday, August 19, 2009 3:53:56 PM
        Subject: RE: [vuids] Re: Random Prompting


        I don't think Zeno was coming from an 'entertainment' angle at all.

        My reading is that he was looking for a way to make systems feel less
        'mechanical', and randomizing prompts is a rough (OK, probably poor)
        way of doing that.

        I get where Zeno is coming from - in 20 years I suspect we will look
        back
        on today's VUIs with rigid prompting schemes and probably see them as
        clunky as a system that would say "Does not compute", or "Your response
        was invalid" today.

        But I agree with Phillip that random (as opposed to dynamic, as he
        explained) prompting is quite pointless and very probably
        counter-productive, especially for regular users.
        - Your best prompt design is your best prompt design.
        Randomizing things for no reason can only go one way - down. And it
        makes other things like grammar tuning dicey/harder.


        I hear where you are coming from Zeno, but as Phillip said, I don't
        think you want 'random' prompting, I think you want 'dynamic' prompting
        based on some extra knowledge you have/get about the caller.
        - Otherwise, use the best darned prompt you can come up with.

        (Apologies for that transparent attempt to 'talk American' in that line
        above.  ;-p  )


        -----Original Message-----
        From: vuids@yahoogroups.com [mailto:vuids@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
        Paul Sawyer
        Sent: Thursday, 20 August 2009 12:57 AM
        To: VUIDS discussion list
        Subject: [vuids] Re: Random Prompting


        I agree with Phillip, and would add this:  People come to a system,
        whether web or VUI, to accomplish something, then get on with their
        lives. With few exceptions, they don't come to be entertained by fancy
        graphics or cool prompts. Whatever gets in the way of them accomplishing
        their task is an annoyance. They know it's a machine. It should be a
        pleasant machine, but also an efficient one.

        Hope this helps.
        -Paul Sawyer

        ________________________________________
        Re: Random Prompting
        From: Phillip Hunter
        Posted by: "Phillip Hunter" phillip@...  phillipwhunter
        Mon Aug 17, 2009 6:41 am (PDT)


        Zeno,

        If you mean truly random prompting, that is, changing the prompt for no
        other reason but to have a set of somewhat different prompts, then that
        has
        no place in VUI designs that I can think of. It would simply be a
        gimmick
        enjoyed by the designer. I can't even think of an experimental reason
        for
        it.

        However, if you mean prompt content that changes in accordance with some
        bit
        of context, then the changes are not random and are likely to be helpful
        if
        the context is interpreted correctly and the content changed
        appropriately.
        This type of change more accurately mimics human-human interaction in a
        way
        that is helpful to both caller and application. This is also far easier
        to
        explain to anyone who might be approving your design. Changing prompts
        in
        this way is typically called Dynamic Prompting, not Random.

        All the best,
        Phillip

        On Fri, Aug 14, 2009 at 8:55 AM, vuiwoz <vuiwoz@...> wrote:

        > Hi,
        >
        > I am thinking about Random Prompting. For me, this feature always has
        two
        > sides:
        >
        > (1)
        > It can make an application much more human-like, since humans also
        tend to
        > formulate a certain question/information in different ways.
        >
        > (I know, there are very contradictory opinions, whether a system
        should be
        > human-like or not. But IF you want to have system human-like, Random
        > Prompting could be an effective way and it's easy to implement)
        >
        > (2)
        > On the other hand, it hinders the user from creating a "mental map" of
        the
        > system. This could especially be bad for power-users but also for
        > situations, where the user returns to a certain place within one
        > dialog/call.
        >
        > Does anyone have had experiences with random prompting, or even
        started
        > experiments? Would be very interesting...!
        >
        > Regards,
        > Zeno



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      • Senturia, Martha
        To expand on Eduardo s third point, there are cases where for business reasons we need to show that examples using company (or other) names are randomized and
        Message 3 of 11 , Aug 19, 2009

          To expand on Eduardo’s third point, there are cases where for business reasons we need to show that examples using company (or other) names are randomized and thus do not favor a specific business or trade name.  I have worked on designs where we had to implement a specific algorithm for randomness provided by the customer in order to satisfy those business requirements.  I think in general (3) and (4) are both valid and not that uncommon.

           

          -----------------------------

          Martha Baird Senturia

           


          From: vuids@yahoogroups.com [mailto:vuids@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Phillip Hunter
          Sent: Wednesday, August 19, 2009 9:28 PM
          To: vuids@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: Re: [vuids] Re: Random Prompting

           

           

          Those are some potentially useful, though quite uncommon, scenarios and would only come up for very specific requirements.  But I must point out that #1 is context-dependent (subsequent call) and #2 should be, lest a caller hears the same thing repeated, which is a chance with true use of randomness.

          Phillip

          On Wed, Aug 19, 2009 at 10:45 PM, Eduardo Olvera <ed_olvera@yahoo. com> wrote:

           

          Even though I agree with the points mentioned below about Dynamic Prompting and Design in general, I think there are actual appropriate uses of random prompts (by random meaning prompts that are pulled from a pool of possible prompt alternatives, not prompts that are driven by context or dynamic values). For example:

          1) During user identification and/or authentication - asking callers to repeat a random sequence of letters, or asking a random security question from a set, for the purpose of increasing the security of a system (e.g. if someone listens to the answer to your question, they shouldn't be able to call back in and authenticate with the answer they just heard)

          2) To provide tips and/or information once a caller has successfully completed a task or when, based on the context, it makes sense to present information the user might not be aware of - for example, if a system contains many features, or is constantly updated/enhanced, having "By the way" type of prompts at the end once a task has been completed and the user is likely to simply hang-up, it is sometimes useful to present those tips to educate callers about features/services they might not know about

          3) When attempting to help users recover from a situation that might take place so early in a call that we might not know anything about the intent, which the user might visit more than once, and which furthermore might have so many different possibilities that it would be hard to only offer a narrow set of subchoices. For example, on a Natural Language Main Menu Router (SLM), sometimes it is helpful to have a handful of random prompts, each with a slightly different set of suggestions/ examples

          4) When trying to break the monotony of repetitive exit prompts that serve a particular purpose but that might not have a direct impact on the outcome of the interaction. For example, on a learning system, if you're asking your user to follow a certain sequence of steps and you're trying to encourage them along the way, it's helpful to have a random set of prompts with various "encouraging" short messages like "That's it", "Perfect", "Nice", "Good job", etc. so that you don't play back the same message over and over again, making it even more apparent that you're dealing with an automated system

          Hope this helps,
          Eduardo

           


          From: Peter Nann <peter.nann@vecommer ce.com.au>
          To: vuids@yahoogroups. com
          Sent: Wednesday, August 19, 2009 3:53:56 PM
          Subject: RE: [vuids] Re: Random Prompting



          I don't think Zeno was coming from an 'entertainment' angle at all.

          My reading is that he was looking for a way to make systems feel less
          'mechanical', and randomizing prompts is a rough (OK, probably poor)
          way of doing that.

          I get where Zeno is coming from - in 20 years I suspect we will look
          back
          on today's VUIs with rigid prompting schemes and probably see them as
          clunky as a system that would say "Does not compute", or "Your response
          was invalid" today.

          But I agree with Phillip that random (as opposed to dynamic, as he
          explained) prompting is quite pointless and very probably
          counter-productive, especially for regular users.
          - Your best prompt design is your best prompt design.
          Randomizing things for no reason can only go one way - down. And it
          makes other things like grammar tuning dicey/harder.


          I hear where you are coming from Zeno, but as Phillip said, I don't
          think you want 'random' prompting, I think you want 'dynamic' prompting
          based on some extra knowledge you have/get about the caller.
          - Otherwise, use the best darned prompt you can come up with.

          (Apologies for that transparent attempt to 'talk American' in that line
          above.  ;-p  )


          -----Original Message-----
          From: vuids@yahoogroups. com [mailto:vuids@yahoogroups. com] On Behalf Of
          Paul Sawyer
          Sent: Thursday, 20 August 2009 12:57 AM
          To: VUIDS discussion list
          Subject: [vuids] Re: Random Prompting


          I agree with Phillip, and would add this:  People come to a system,
          whether web or VUI, to accomplish something, then get on with their
          lives. With few exceptions, they don't come to be entertained by fancy
          graphics or cool prompts. Whatever gets in the way of them accomplishing
          their task is an annoyance. They know it's a machine. It should be a
          pleasant machine, but also an efficient one.

          Hope this helps.
          -Paul Sawyer

          ____________ _________ _________ _________ _
          Re: Random Prompting
          From: Phillip Hunter
          Posted by: "Phillip Hunter" phillip@phillipwhun ter.com  phillipwhunter
          Mon Aug 17, 2009 6:41 am (PDT)


          Zeno,

          If you mean truly random prompting, that is, changing the prompt for no
          other reason but to have a set of somewhat different prompts, then that
          has
          no place in VUI designs that I can think of. It would simply be a
          gimmick
          enjoyed by the designer. I can't even think of an experimental reason
          for
          it.

          However, if you mean prompt content that changes in accordance with some
          bit
          of context, then the changes are not random and are likely to be helpful
          if
          the context is interpreted correctly and the content changed
          appropriately.
          This type of change more accurately mimics human-human interaction in a
          way
          that is helpful to both caller and application. This is also far easier
          to
          explain to anyone who might be approving your design. Changing prompts
          in
          this way is typically called Dynamic Prompting, not Random.

          All the best,
          Phillip

          On Fri, Aug 14, 2009 at 8:55 AM, vuiwoz <vuiwoz@yahoo. de> wrote:

          > Hi,
          >
          > I am thinking about Random Prompting. For me, this feature always has
          two
          > sides:
          >
          > (1)
          > It can make an application much more human-like, since humans also
          tend to
          > formulate a certain question/informatio n in different ways.
          >
          > (I know, there are very contradictory opinions, whether a system
          should be
          > human-like or not. But IF you want to have system human-like, Random
          > Prompting could be an effective way and it's easy to implement)
          >
          > (2)
          > On the other hand, it hinders the user from creating a "mental
          map" of
          the
          > system. This could especially be bad for power-users but also for
          > situations, where the user returns to a certain place within one
          > dialog/call.
          >
          > Does anyone have had experiences with random prompting, or even
          started
          > experiments? Would be very interesting. ..!
          >
          > Regards,
          > Zeno



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        • vuiwoz
          Hi Peter, hi all, no, was not thinking of Dynamic Prompting in a sense to make the VUI-output more context-sensitive. I was thinking of really stupid random
          Message 4 of 11 , Aug 20, 2009
            Hi Peter, hi all,
            no, was not thinking of Dynamic Prompting in a sense to make the VUI-output more context-sensitive. I was thinking of really "stupid" random prompting.

            Customers use to think of random prompting as a way to make the system more natural, but I use to be sceptical, because of naturalness in general and because of the reasons most of you mentioned: You could have fine-grained semantic differences in the "Randomization-Pool" that you are not aware of and that make a system less useable. Also, the user is hindered in building a mental model of the application. And, of course, you have more implementation and testing effort.

            To my mind, central prompts of the dialog should be left untouched by random prompting. But I see good chance to use it in Welcome and Goodbye-Prompts, for example.

            Regards,
            Zeno


            --- In vuids@yahoogroups.com, "Peter Nann" <peter.nann@...> wrote:
            >
            >
            > I don't think Zeno was coming from an 'entertainment' angle at all.
            >
            > My reading is that he was looking for a way to make systems feel less
            > 'mechanical', and randomizing prompts is a rough (OK, probably poor)
            > way of doing that.
            >
            > I get where Zeno is coming from - in 20 years I suspect we will look
            > back
            > on today's VUIs with rigid prompting schemes and probably see them as
            > clunky as a system that would say "Does not compute", or "Your response
            > was invalid" today.
            >
            > But I agree with Phillip that random (as opposed to dynamic, as he
            > explained) prompting is quite pointless and very probably
            > counter-productive, especially for regular users.
            > - Your best prompt design is your best prompt design.
            > Randomizing things for no reason can only go one way - down. And it
            > makes other things like grammar tuning dicey/harder.
            >
            >
            > I hear where you are coming from Zeno, but as Phillip said, I don't
            > think you want 'random' prompting, I think you want 'dynamic' prompting
            > based on some extra knowledge you have/get about the caller.
            > - Otherwise, use the best darned prompt you can come up with.
            >
            > (Apologies for that transparent attempt to 'talk American' in that line
            > above. ;-p )
            >
            >
            > -----Original Message-----
            > From: vuids@yahoogroups.com [mailto:vuids@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
            > Paul Sawyer
            > Sent: Thursday, 20 August 2009 12:57 AM
            > To: VUIDS discussion list
            > Subject: [vuids] Re: Random Prompting
            >
            >
            > I agree with Phillip, and would add this: People come to a system,
            > whether web or VUI, to accomplish something, then get on with their
            > lives. With few exceptions, they don't come to be entertained by fancy
            > graphics or cool prompts. Whatever gets in the way of them accomplishing
            > their task is an annoyance. They know it's a machine. It should be a
            > pleasant machine, but also an efficient one.
            >
            > Hope this helps.
            > -Paul Sawyer
            >
            > ________________________________________
            > Re: Random Prompting
            > From: Phillip Hunter
            > Posted by: "Phillip Hunter" phillip@... phillipwhunter
            > Mon Aug 17, 2009 6:41 am (PDT)
            >
            >
            > Zeno,
            >
            > If you mean truly random prompting, that is, changing the prompt for no
            > other reason but to have a set of somewhat different prompts, then that
            > has
            > no place in VUI designs that I can think of. It would simply be a
            > gimmick
            > enjoyed by the designer. I can't even think of an experimental reason
            > for
            > it.
            >
            > However, if you mean prompt content that changes in accordance with some
            > bit
            > of context, then the changes are not random and are likely to be helpful
            > if
            > the context is interpreted correctly and the content changed
            > appropriately.
            > This type of change more accurately mimics human-human interaction in a
            > way
            > that is helpful to both caller and application. This is also far easier
            > to
            > explain to anyone who might be approving your design. Changing prompts
            > in
            > this way is typically called Dynamic Prompting, not Random.
            >
            > All the best,
            > Phillip
            >
            > On Fri, Aug 14, 2009 at 8:55 AM, vuiwoz <vuiwoz@...> wrote:
            >
            > > Hi,
            > >
            > > I am thinking about Random Prompting. For me, this feature always has
            > two
            > > sides:
            > >
            > > (1)
            > > It can make an application much more human-like, since humans also
            > tend to
            > > formulate a certain question/information in different ways.
            > >
            > > (I know, there are very contradictory opinions, whether a system
            > should be
            > > human-like or not. But IF you want to have system human-like, Random
            > > Prompting could be an effective way and it's easy to implement)
            > >
            > > (2)
            > > On the other hand, it hinders the user from creating a "mental map" of
            > the
            > > system. This could especially be bad for power-users but also for
            > > situations, where the user returns to a certain place within one
            > > dialog/call.
            > >
            > > Does anyone have had experiences with random prompting, or even
            > started
            > > experiments? Would be very interesting...!
            > >
            > > Regards,
            > > Zeno
            >
            >
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          • bouzidat
            I would say that randomization for the sake of variability is not a compelling reason -- in fact, I would say it is self defeating since the caller may be
            Message 5 of 11 , Sep 13, 2009
              I would say that randomization for the sake of variability is not a compelling reason -- in fact, I would say it is self defeating since the caller may be thrown off by the seemingly purposeless variability. On the other hand, purposeful variability is a good thing when done right -- e.g., personalization. I would rather that the system anticipated my need and proposed an option rather than safely provide me with a main menu -- e.g., "Are you calling about the status of your recent on-line purchase?" I think in such cases, the potential fast-tracking is worth the mental map disruption....

              Ahmed Bouzid

              --- In vuids@yahoogroups.com, "Senturia, Martha" <martha.senturia@...> wrote:
              >
              > To expand on Eduardo's third point, there are cases where for business
              > reasons we need to show that examples using company (or other) names are
              > randomized and thus do not favor a specific business or trade name. I
              > have worked on designs where we had to implement a specific algorithm
              > for randomness provided by the customer in order to satisfy those
              > business requirements. I think in general (3) and (4) are both valid
              > and not that uncommon.
              >
              >
              >
              > -----------------------------
              >
              > Martha Baird Senturia
              >
              >
              >
              > ________________________________
              >
              > From: vuids@yahoogroups.com [mailto:vuids@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
              > Phillip Hunter
              > Sent: Wednesday, August 19, 2009 9:28 PM
              > To: vuids@yahoogroups.com
              > Subject: Re: [vuids] Re: Random Prompting
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > Those are some potentially useful, though quite uncommon, scenarios and
              > would only come up for very specific requirements. But I must point out
              > that #1 is context-dependent (subsequent call) and #2 should be, lest a
              > caller hears the same thing repeated, which is a chance with true use of
              > randomness.
              >
              > Phillip
              >
              > On Wed, Aug 19, 2009 at 10:45 PM, Eduardo Olvera <ed_olvera@...
              > <mailto:ed_olvera@...> > wrote:
              >
              >
              >
              > Even though I agree with the points mentioned below about Dynamic
              > Prompting and Design in general, I think there are actual appropriate
              > uses of random prompts (by random meaning prompts that are pulled from a
              > pool of possible prompt alternatives, not prompts that are driven by
              > context or dynamic values). For example:
              >
              > 1) During user identification and/or authentication - asking callers to
              > repeat a random sequence of letters, or asking a random security
              > question from a set, for the purpose of increasing the security of a
              > system (e.g. if someone listens to the answer to your question, they
              > shouldn't be able to call back in and authenticate with the answer they
              > just heard)
              >
              > 2) To provide tips and/or information once a caller has successfully
              > completed a task or when, based on the context, it makes sense to
              > present information the user might not be aware of - for example, if a
              > system contains many features, or is constantly updated/enhanced, having
              > "By the way" type of prompts at the end once a task has been completed
              > and the user is likely to simply hang-up, it is sometimes useful to
              > present those tips to educate callers about features/services they might
              > not know about
              >
              > 3) When attempting to help users recover from a situation that might
              > take place so early in a call that we might not know anything about the
              > intent, which the user might visit more than once, and which furthermore
              > might have so many different possibilities that it would be hard to only
              > offer a narrow set of subchoices. For example, on a Natural Language
              > Main Menu Router (SLM), sometimes it is helpful to have a handful of
              > random prompts, each with a slightly different set of
              > suggestions/examples
              >
              > 4) When trying to break the monotony of repetitive exit prompts that
              > serve a particular purpose but that might not have a direct impact on
              > the outcome of the interaction. For example, on a learning system, if
              > you're asking your user to follow a certain sequence of steps and you're
              > trying to encourage them along the way, it's helpful to have a random
              > set of prompts with various "encouraging" short messages like "That's
              > it", "Perfect", "Nice", "Good job", etc. so that you don't play back the
              > same message over and over again, making it even more apparent that
              > you're dealing with an automated system
              >
              > Hope this helps,
              > Eduardo
              >
              >
              >
              > ________________________________
              >
              > From: Peter Nann <peter.nann@...
              > <mailto:peter.nann@...> >
              > To: vuids@yahoogroups.com <mailto:vuids@yahoogroups.com>
              > Sent: Wednesday, August 19, 2009 3:53:56 PM
              > Subject: RE: [vuids] Re: Random Prompting
              >
              >
              >
              > I don't think Zeno was coming from an 'entertainment' angle at all.
              >
              > My reading is that he was looking for a way to make systems feel less
              > 'mechanical', and randomizing prompts is a rough (OK, probably poor)
              > way of doing that.
              >
              > I get where Zeno is coming from - in 20 years I suspect we will look
              > back
              > on today's VUIs with rigid prompting schemes and probably see them as
              > clunky as a system that would say "Does not compute", or "Your response
              > was invalid" today.
              >
              > But I agree with Phillip that random (as opposed to dynamic, as he
              > explained) prompting is quite pointless and very probably
              > counter-productive, especially for regular users.
              > - Your best prompt design is your best prompt design.
              > Randomizing things for no reason can only go one way - down. And it
              > makes other things like grammar tuning dicey/harder.
              >
              >
              > I hear where you are coming from Zeno, but as Phillip said, I don't
              > think you want 'random' prompting, I think you want 'dynamic' prompting
              > based on some extra knowledge you have/get about the caller.
              > - Otherwise, use the best darned prompt you can come up with.
              >
              > (Apologies for that transparent attempt to 'talk American' in that line
              > above. ;-p )
              >
              >
              > -----Original Message-----
              > From: vuids@yahoogroups.com <mailto:vuids@yahoogroups.com>
              > [mailto:vuids@yahoogroups.com <mailto:vuids@yahoogroups.com> ] On Behalf
              > Of
              > Paul Sawyer
              > Sent: Thursday, 20 August 2009 12:57 AM
              > To: VUIDS discussion list
              > Subject: [vuids] Re: Random Prompting
              >
              >
              > I agree with Phillip, and would add this: People come to a system,
              > whether web or VUI, to accomplish something, then get on with their
              > lives. With few exceptions, they don't come to be entertained by fancy
              > graphics or cool prompts. Whatever gets in the way of them accomplishing
              > their task is an annoyance. They know it's a machine. It should be a
              > pleasant machine, but also an efficient one.
              >
              > Hope this helps.
              > -Paul Sawyer
              >
              > ________________________________________
              > Re: Random Prompting
              > From: Phillip Hunter
              > Posted by: "Phillip Hunter" phillip@...
              > <mailto:phillip@...> phillipwhunter
              > Mon Aug 17, 2009 6:41 am (PDT)
              >
              >
              > Zeno,
              >
              > If you mean truly random prompting, that is, changing the prompt for no
              > other reason but to have a set of somewhat different prompts, then that
              > has
              > no place in VUI designs that I can think of. It would simply be a
              > gimmick
              > enjoyed by the designer. I can't even think of an experimental reason
              > for
              > it.
              >
              > However, if you mean prompt content that changes in accordance with some
              > bit
              > of context, then the changes are not random and are likely to be helpful
              > if
              > the context is interpreted correctly and the content changed
              > appropriately.
              > This type of change more accurately mimics human-human interaction in a
              > way
              > that is helpful to both caller and application. This is also far easier
              > to
              > explain to anyone who might be approving your design. Changing prompts
              > in
              > this way is typically called Dynamic Prompting, not Random.
              >
              > All the best,
              > Phillip
              >
              > On Fri, Aug 14, 2009 at 8:55 AM, vuiwoz <vuiwoz@...
              > <mailto:vuiwoz@...> > wrote:
              >
              > > Hi,
              > >
              > > I am thinking about Random Prompting. For me, this feature always has
              > two
              > > sides:
              > >
              > > (1)
              > > It can make an application much more human-like, since humans also
              > tend to
              > > formulate a certain question/information in different ways.
              > >
              > > (I know, there are very contradictory opinions, whether a system
              > should be
              > > human-like or not. But IF you want to have system human-like, Random
              > > Prompting could be an effective way and it's easy to implement)
              > >
              > > (2)
              > > On the other hand, it hinders the user from creating a "mental map" of
              > the
              > > system. This could especially be bad for power-users but also for
              > > situations, where the user returns to a certain place within one
              > > dialog/call.
              > >
              > > Does anyone have had experiences with random prompting, or even
              > started
              > > experiments? Would be very interesting...!
              > >
              > > Regards,
              > > Zeno
              >
              >
              >
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