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Interactive Voice Response (IVR) Systems: Mobile Applications for Low-Literate Users

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Interactive Voice Response (IVR) Systems: Mobile Applications for Low-Literate Users

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  1. Interactive Voice Response (IVR) Systems: Mobile Applications for Low-Literate Users Juan Roldan, UshaChandna, KautilyaNalubolu, Alex Mitchell November 11, 2013

  2. Outline Mobile Phone Technology and the global illiteracy problem Designing Mobile Interfaces for Novice and Low-Literacy Users IVR System: Voice Query Voice Response Model Polly Additional IVR applications Conclusions and challenges

  3. Mobile Phone Technology and the global illiteracy problem

  4. Why Mobile Phones? • Obsolescence of PDAs/other handheld devices, with a sustained or increasing need for mobility • Laptop computers are less portable and tablets more costly • Increasing sophistication in applications/programs available on a mobile platform • The great number of mobile phone users/ subscribers already in developing countries • Illiterate populations in India, in parts of Africa and throughout much of Latin America have at least a passing familiarity with mobile technology

  5. Literacy Rates by Continent http://www.maps.com/ref_map.aspx?pid=12877, 2011

  6. Two Types of Illiteracy • A. Illiteracy: the inability to read and write within one’s native tongue • a. We distinguish between nonliterate and semiliterate populations • 1. Nonliterate: having no reading/writing ability • 2. Semiliterate: an inability to read more than basic or perfunctory sentences; may be fluent in numeracy • B. Technological illiteracy: expressing inexperience with or a limited facility for using and applying (mobile) technology

  7. Mobile Phone Ownership by Continent http://www.trendhunter.com/trends/waste-ventures, 2012

  8. Phone costs in India and Latin America • In India, calls are billed at a per-minute rate of less than $0.01, one-eighteenth to one-twentieth of rates observed in the UK, US and Japan • Per-minute/text rates in Latin America begin around the penny mark in some countries, and exceed $0.10 in others • Onerous taxation in Chile, monopolies in Mexico • Data plans are priced commensurate with the American market, despite enormous differences in GDP per capita earning • In Africa, call rates vary significantly by country • In developing countries, mobile phone costs account for as much as 30% of household income • Mobile costs exacerbate income inequalities Barrantes, Roxana, and HernanGalperinee. "Can the Poor Afford Mobile Telephony? Evidence from Latin America." Elsevier 32.8 (2008): 521-30.Http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308596108000554. Elsevier, Sept. 2008. Web.

  9. Designing Mobile Interfaces for Novice and Low-Literacy Users INDRANI MEDHI, Microsoft Research India SOMANI PATNAIK, Massachusetts Institute of Technology EMMA BRUNSKILL, University of California, Berkeley S. N. NAGASENA GAUTAMA and WILLIAM THIES, Microsoft Research India KENTARO TOYAMA, University of California, Berkeley Medhi, Indrani, SomaniPatnaik, EMMA Brunskill, NagasenaGautamala, and Kentaro Toyama. "Designing Mobile Interfaces for Novice and Low-literacy Users." ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction (TOCHI) 18.1 (April 2011): 2.1+. Web.

  10. Designing Mobile Interfaces for Novice and Low-Literacy Users • Set out to describe barriers to mobile use and design possibilities for better engaging illiterate users, who occupy an increasing market share • Illiterate users were most likely to use phones exclusively for synchronous calling, and rarely exploited higher-order applications • Focus on low-cost mobile phone development projects • Examples from mobile health programs and mobile banking • In many cases observed, respondents were already phone owners

  11. Barriers to mobile use by nonliterate populations • Nonnumeric inputs: nonliterate populations struggled to use and identify unfamiliar symbols (*, #, &) in addition to letters for messages requiring text inputs • Soft-key mapping: difficulties experienced with utilizing unlabeled and ambiguously labeled navigation keys • Discoverability: features or attributes laid out incoherently in a mobile interface • Scrollbars: novice and Inexperienced users may be unaware that some features are “hidden” below those appearing on the main menu • Hierarchical navigation: Pertinent features and applications are buried in unreadable blocks of text • Graphics not intuitively designed for navigation/to reflect the purpose of a button

  12. The Peculiar primacy of the English language in mobile applications • Language barriers occur where non and semiliterate populations cannot read/write within their down dialect, and where– even among literate users– the language and terminology of an application is foreign • Mobile banking and healthcare apps: language characterized by technical jargon, alien phrases/idioms • Many apps produced for a global market use a single language, English, as a means of capturing many users with minimal investment • Still other apps, produced for foreign markets, use English prompts exclusively, or an unintelligible mix of domestic and foreign terms

  13. Two experiments • Study 1 • Tested 58 subjects in Bangalore, India on fluency with mobile banking technology, each with absent or limited writing/reading capabilities • 3 Conditions: • Text-based • Control group • Voice UI (IVR) • Spoken options for menu selection; speech-based feedback • Graphical UI • Picture-based menus • Static, hand-drawn and culturally-relevant graphical representations • Three groups: • (a) novice users • (b) seasoned users • (c) no experience with mobile devices

  14. Results

  15. Results (Cont’d) • Illiterate users were uniformly incapable of completing a transaction on the text-based UI • Voice-based UIs were completed with a 72% success rate, and at less than half the speed of graphical UI trials • Graphical UIs saw a 100% completion rate, at an average completion time of 13 minutes • Speed differentials are thought to be related to users’ familiarity with voice-based technologies generally • A natural fealty to voice-based UIs given experiences with synchronous calling, etc. • Less hesitation, and a reduced fear of “breaking” or “spoiling” the phone, fears which are likely to abate with experience on graphical UIs

  16. Design Recommendations for Mobile Phone Technology (1) Provide graphical cues. (2) Provide voice annotation support wherever possible. (3) Provide local language support, both in text and audio. (4) Minimize hierarchical structures. (5) Avoid requiring nonnumeric text input. (6) Avoid menus that require scrolling. (7) Minimize soft-key mappings. (8) Integrate human mediators into the overall system, to familiarize potential users with scenarios and UIs.

  17. Limitations • Technology resistance • Temporary service without durable solutions to the illiteracy problem • Programs do not provide mobile technology, but merely make it more accessible to current users • High vulnerability to financial shocks, theft, etc • Complexity of creating UIs for countries with multiple dialects/languages • A limitation felt more strongly by voice UIs than by graphically-oriented ones • Program costs and sustainability • Donor attrition rates

  18. Interactive Voice Response System(IVR)

  19. Interactive Voice Response(IVR) System? • An automated telephony system that • interacts with callers, • gathers information • routes calls to the appropriate recipient. • Comprise of • Telephony equipment • Software applications, • adatabase and • a supporting infrastructure

  20. Vashistha, Aditya, and RajarathnamNalluswamy. "Voice Based Social Networking and Informatiion Delivery System for Farmeres." Convergence Lab, n.d. Web.

  21. IVR: Challenges in Scaling Voice Forum • Moderating Content at Scale • Possible solutions : • Hiring large fleet of dedicated moderators • Utilize community moderator • Managing Call Cost at Scale Possible solutions : • Call charges are reduced by leveraging local calls • Broadcast audio via mobile internet Vashistha, Aditya,”IVR Junction: Building Scalable and Distributed Voice Forums in the Developing World” Microsoft Research

  22. IVR Junction • Connects internet based users with phone based users Information exchange at international level • Save users the cost of long distance phone call Vashistha, Aditya,”IVR Junction: Building Scalable and Distributed Voice Forums in the Developing World” Microsoft Research

  23. IVR Junction IVR Junction stores all voice data using online Cloud storage www.microsoftresearch.com

  24. IVR Junction

  25. IVR + Cloud based technology = IVR Junction IVR junction integrates IVR service with social media services www.microsoftresearch.com

  26. IVR Junction Users

  27. Applications of IVR Junction • CGNet Swara • AvaajOtalo • Health line • Viral Entertainment Platform-Polly www.microsoftresearch.com

  28. Applications of IVR Junction • CGNet Swara • AvaajOtalo • Health line • Viral Entertainment Platform-Polly

  29. Polly

  30. Polly Polly is a telephone-based, voice-based application which allows users to make a short recording of their voice, modify it and send the modified version to friends. Video:http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~Polly/ Source: Jobs Opportunities through Entertainment: Virally Spread Speech-Based Services for Low-Literate Users. CHI13 presentation.

  31. Polly • Voice-based entertainment service • Entertainment as a “viral conduit” • Disseminate development telephone based services • Incentivize people to train themselves Source: Jobs Opportunities through Entertainment: Virally Spread Speech-Based Services for Low-Literate Users. CHI13 presentation.

  32. Polly • Job ad browsing • For low-skilled, low-literate workers • Additional voice-based applications? Source: Jobs Opportunities through Entertainment: Virally Spread Speech-Based Services for Low-Literate Users. CHI13 presentation.

  33. Polly – goals • Can a system like Polly be scalable? • Demographic characteristics of Polly users. Cost-sensitivity, are users willing to pay? • First development-focused service: response of Polly users to the Job information service. Source: Jobs Opportunities through Entertainment: Virally Spread Speech-Based Services for Low-Literate Users. CHI13 presentation.

  34. Polly – 2012 scale deployment • Initially Polly’s phone number was given to 5 low-literate people on May 2012: • 85,000 users in ~4.5 months • 495,000 interactions • 1,000 new people daily • As of April 2013: • 163,000 users • 630,000 interactions Source: Jobs Opportunities through Entertainment: Virally Spread Speech-Based Services for Low-Literate Users. CHI13 presentation.

  35. Polly – 2012 scale deployment Source: Jobs Opportunities through Entertainment: Virally Spread Speech-Based Services for Low-Literate Users. CHI13 presentation.

  36. Polly – 2012 scale deployment Source: Jobs Opportunities through Entertainment: Virally Spread Speech-Based Services for Low-Literate Users. CHI13 presentation.

  37. Polly – Demographics Source: Jobs Opportunities through Entertainment: Virally Spread Speech-Based Services for Low-Literate Users. CHI13 presentation.

  38. Polly – Controlled trails Source: Jobs Opportunities through Entertainment: Virally Spread Speech-Based Services for Low-Literate Users. CHI13 presentation.

  39. Polly – Effect on daily quota of 7calls Source: Jobs Opportunities through Entertainment: Virally Spread Speech-Based Services for Low-Literate Users. CHI13 presentation.

  40. Polly – Job information service • On the first ~4.5 months: • 27,000 people used the job search service • Listened 270,000 times to job ads • Forwarded them 22,000 times to friends • As of April 2013: • 34,000 people used the job search service • Listened 385,000 times to job ads • Forwarded them 33,500 times to friends • 57% of the interviewed users had used job search • Only a handful of them applied. Source: Jobs Opportunities through Entertainment: Virally Spread Speech-Based Services for Low-Literate Users. CHI13 presentation.

  41. Polly – Conclusions and challenges • Scalability? • Infrastructure capacity? • How to achieve cost-efficiency? • Willingness to pay? • Long-term users? • Impact on job offers? • Additional applications? Source: Jobs Opportunities through Entertainment: Virally Spread Speech-Based Services for Low-Literate Users. CHI13 presentation.

  42. Additional IVR applications

  43. Video Kheti • Partnership with Digital Green • Digital Green – Demonstrates farming practices using videos • Designed to address Digital Green’s constraints • Video Kheti uses IVR to provide video content for farmers using multimodal interface similar to Siri, Google Voice, etc.. Medhi, Indrani, Kalika Bali, and Edward Curtell. "Pages 2833-2842."Http://chi2013.acm.org/. Proc. of CHI2013 Changing Presepective, France, Paris. ACM, New York, 2013. Web.

  44. Video Kheti- Is it effective? • Targets – rural users in developing countries • 5 billion mobile subscription in 2011, growing at 20% a year • Graphical interface more successful than text based interfaces for illiterate and novice users. • Success Is correlated to education of users.

  45. Applications : AvaajOtalo • Similar to Polly • Can record, browse and respond to agricultural questions and answers http://www.sautiyawakulima.net/research/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/howitworks1_avaajotalo.jpg

  46. Applications: CGNet Swara • An effort to involve the underprivileged in main stream media; started in Chhattisgarh. • Mobile interface that allows to either record or listen to a 3 minute message. • Record messages are available on the phone and web. Web also features text form of these messages and are mailed to the mailing list. Mudliar, Preeti, Jonathan Donner, and William Theis. "Emergent Practices Around CGNet Swara: A Voice Forum for Citizen Journalism in Rural India." Information Technologies and International Development 9.2 (2012): 65-79.Http://itidjournal.org/index.php/itid/article/view/1053/433. Information Technologies and International Development, 2012. Web.

  47. CGNet Swara : How does it work? Source: http://harrysurjadi.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/swara-system.png

  48. CGNet Swara: Is it effective? • A participatory approach called citizen journalism • Illiterate people are now able to voice their problems and also learn about other communities. • This leads to transparency as any government or corporate misdeeds will be brought into everyone’s notice.