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Interactive Voice Response

Interactive voice response (IVR) systems vary significantly in complexity, but can often frustrate users. However there are particular problems for deaf users and those with a cognitive impairment. For those using a text relay service, IVR systems can be very difficult or impossible to use.

Using a one-piece phone, where the keypad is integral with the headset, makes it difficult for the user to simultaneously listen and press keys. Visually impaired people often experience difficulties in inputting data on a telephone keypad when it is integral with the handset. Therefore, adequate time needs to be given for the user to respond. Also, the user should be able to request a repeat of the voice prompts.


  • Allow for users who need extra time to respond to prompts.
  • Provide a means of access to a human operator.
  • Provide a recovery route from error.
  • Provide different audio feedback for valid and invalid key presses.
  • Provide a consistent and predictable user interface.
  • Use consistent terminology.
  • Keep user IDs to no more than 8 digits.
  • Do not require that the same information is entered more than once.
  • Provide users with the facility to repeat the audio output.
  • Provide context-sensitive help.

Further information


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