Developing menus for use in auditory interfaces



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Texas Tech University


Menus are a common device found in computer interfaces used for presenting alternatives to computer users. Considerable research has addressed the uses of menus as part of Visual Display Terminals (VDTs). Menus on VDTs are advantageous, especially for novice computer users, because (1) menus are easy to learn and use; and (2) menus reduce the memory demands placed on the user by presenting possible options eliminating the need to commit the options to memory.

The past popularity of menus in VDT interfaces is currently leading to the use of them in other interfaces. One such interface is the auditory interface. Technology is such that information can be accessed on computers via telephone. Users can "talk" to the computer to gain access to information and services. The computers respond using digitized or synthesized speech output. Applications of such services include credit card information services, banking services, and database inquiry. While these applications are on the increase, there is essentially no literature suggesting the best course for designing such interface. Menus, as interface tools, are included in this area which lacks research and design guidelines suggesting investigation into these issues.