Interface design for an audio based information retrieval system

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1992-07-15
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Virginia Tech
Abstract

This project involves a telephone-based information retrieval system. Users interact with the computer by pressing buttons on a telephone keypad and listening to the computer respond by way of a speech synthesizer.

The purpose of this project is to redesign and revise an existing information retrieval system. The goals of this project include simplifying the job of the menu designer and providing a way so experience can aid users to perform a given task faster than previously possible. Key objectives of this project are adding a keyword command interface to the existing menu driven interface and developing a flexible menu representation scheme for the menu designers.

The original system is part of a National Science Foundation funded project entitled "Integrated Research Paradigm For Information Technology," The system works by speaking lists of keywords using a synthesizer and allowing the user to choose the most appropriate keyword from each list. After selecting a keyword the user is given another list of more specific keywords. By repeating this process the user should eventually reach some desired information. Whenever a user selects a particular keyword the system will present him with a message pertaining to that keyword.

Tasks accomplished include implementing a menu driven system together with a keyword command system and allowing use of a simplified menu representation scheme. Testing might evaluate the effectiveness of these changes. One comparison involves single keying versus double keying versus menu driven user interfaces. Another comparison concerns the effects of command completion and various methods of handling user errors. Keying issues, such as the association of function to the keys, and the effects of feedback messages could also be studied.

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