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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10204/6070

Title: Towards effective telephone-based delivery of government services
Authors: Barnard, E
Cloete, L
Patel, H
Coetzee, L
Keywords: Government services
Service delivery
Telephone-based services
Speech recognition
Issue Date: Sep-2003
Citation: Barnard, E, Cloete, L, Patel, H and Coetzee, L. Towards effective telephone-based delivery of government services. Proceedings of the 9th International Winelands Conference, Stellenbosch, South Africa, 10-12 September 2003
Abstract: Government regulations have combined with a tremendous growth in prepaid cellular telephony to bring telephone connectivity to an unprecedented number of South African citizens – thus creating an ideal platform for delivering services to a wide cross-section of the population. A further advantage of telephone-based services is the relatively low levels of infrastructure and user sophistication at which such services can operate. We believe that useful services can be delivered to citizens equipped with nothing but a normal telephone, and requiring no more than the ability to understand and respond to spoken commands. Such a verbal interface is highly appropriate from a cultural perspective in South Africa, where a strong oral tradition exists amongst a substantial pre-literate or semi-literate population. Practically realizing the potential of telephone systems for government service delivery poses a number of interesting scientific questions. Most importantly, the majority of current telephone-based services are aimed at users with a high level of literacy, technical and otherwise, and little is currently known about the appropriate deployment of such services for users outside that mould. We have therefore embarked on a programme aimed at understanding how to develop efficient, effective, and usable telephone-based interfaces to informational and transactional systems, within a developing-world context. Several variables are expected to influence users’ experience of such systems; our initial experiments have focused on the following set: mother tongue, gender, age, level of functional literacy, and mean family income. These variables are likely to interact with various aspects of the interface design; to explore these interactions, we have designed two classes of interfaces – one using speech recognition and the other using keypresses. We report on initial findings that are serving as a base for the design of our next phase of experiments and extensions to the technology framework.
Description: Proceedings of the 9th International Winelands Conference, Stellenbosch, South Africa, 10-12 September 2003
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10204/6070
Appears in Collections:Human factors
Accessibility research
Citizen information services
Human language technologies
ICT in education, youth, gender
General science, engineering & technology

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