IVR System Design and Hosting

Almost a month back I was anxiously looking for IVR hosting solutions and apparently ended up writing a SOS call on this blog. This is a follow up of that call with some information which I could receive. I also want to express my gratitude to someone who saw my call and replied me with his valuable suggestions. However as I set to do so in this post, I would bring back some of the references for a quick refresh. I am currently developing IVR prototypes for a usability testing. This required me to follow up a number of steps, right from finding an application domain to finding an information lag, to creating a script and recording the same. However one of the most crucial of these steps is to finally make everything work. I was suffering so much there.

Anyways, that’s where I had to call for help. Thanks Nalin, co-founder Mayavi Telecommunications, for sending out suggestions regarding the IVR hosting solutions. You introduced me to some of the best ones in this domain like Kookoo, Knowlarity and FreeSwitch, apart from Exotel which I’m finally using. A part of the suggestion was to keep an eye on IVRS world, a blog by Uttam Pegu. Uttam writes extensively about IVR system design and more recently about cloud telephony. It is an interesting blog which attends to a number of questions in the context of Indian Telephony scenario. Other things which I discovered includes an interesting Visual IVR design framework called CallKick. It is launched recently by Mayavi Telecommunications and comes bundled with a ready-to-install android app.
All these mentions form an interesting Pandora box which I wasn’t aware of earlier 🙂

Telephony; What else does it bring with itself?

May be things aren’t the way I observed but nonetheless I must tell what is making me to even write so. I am seeing a lot of people around me spending hours entertaining  calls. Either they are answering calls or many a times are making calls to all different sort of people. And with an oxygenated penetration of mobile telephony, people aren’t simply making calls to all different sort of people; they are making calls from all different sort of locations as well. Finding people with earplugs and talking to gods and demons while they walk on road or virtually at any place, no matter how bizarre the place itself is, isn’t such a spectacle any more. No doubt we are connected better than ever before perhaps in the history of human race but what about the clarity of communication. What is it that drives these conversations? Does it compose of statements followed by further set of statements or by an endless clarification of the anything being spoken of? Does it include more of confusion or clarity? Although I have no access to what people talk about on their phones but with some inquiry and with couple of persons who shared their experiences of talking at length, few interesting things seem to be emerging.

It is off course subjective to an extent to see a connection between clarity of communication and the communication medium i.e. mobile telephony in our case. However the agencies, the people who are talking, which drive communication do have an effect on the clarity of communication. Whether one is able to communicate to the other, does depend on one’s ability to articulate his thoughts. No doubt about this but the case doesn’t simply rest here. What about the loss of signals during a mobile conversation or a sudden disappearance of battery power? What about the continuous noise that disrupts our talk sometimes? And what about an accidental push on the ‘red button’ when you are trying to switch between your ears? All of these and similar others random factors do affect our perception of the caller or of the subject being talked of. I have come across people testifying how they have been mistaken for someone who is arrogant or egoistic when for reasons, similar to the ones mentioned above, a call broke at some critical point in the conversation. And even when they resumed the call back, how hard they had a time clarifying their stand or explaining the reason for the ‘break’ in communication. This might happen between two people fixing a deal on phone, or between duos who are on the verge of resolving a crisis. And this might be worse between a couple.

Apparently none other than script writers or storytellers have made a note of any such behavior, truly spontaneous and random, but many a times critical. We can accept this! We can term these as ‘misunderstandings’  and can assume that these have ever existed between people, and can conclude that communication technology can’t really handle it. However I do feel somewhere that technology isn’t simply mean to enable communication between peers but rather it is there to sustain it in an intended form; in a form which humans decide.

Few more Interesting links

Today’s subscription letter from Communication Arts is really interesting. They have featured four different links. Three of these are really worth mentioning. The first one is about 100 best cameras. These are arranged to form a poster titled “A Visual Compendium of Cameras“. The second one features top 10 poster designs in the past 50 years. And the last one is about FS Emeric, a new font hosted by Fontsmith.

Please care for the logo as well.

These days I’m faced with a very specific problem. Is is specific to the designs of Dot Com sites for various clients. Assume that every single client who wants to design her website has an expectation of communicating as clearly as possible through her website. This communication can be achieved by bringing better architecture to the website content which suits the users and off course by careful alignment of different attention zones in the entire website. What a clients also expects is to have a wonderful nice looking stunning design to their website content. This is a common process which involves looking at goals, content, information architecture to designing templates at the end. No issues at all, perfect!

Where I find people getting stuck is the point when they have their identities which suits a different media more than the web. For example a bunch of organizations have logos in the orientation of a portrait. Conventionally such a logo suits print media and not the web. You can have a really good portrait oriented logo on a letter head. Not because it looks good on letter head just like that but more because it goes with the length of the paper. The paper bearing its imprint is itself oriented as a portrait. Now come to the web which is essentially more horizontal-landscape a medium than print. Not only a logo with portrait orientation looks out of place, it also compromises on the header space. One needs a wider header to accommodate a log in a portrait format. Eventually it happens at the expense of priorities of other stuff on the website which can be shown without a scroll (above the fold). Well hopefully they will come to understand that logo designs with landscape orientation will suit better the web media. But currently they suspect me as the one convincing them to modify their identities to a landscape format. What to do !

May be you already know this!

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Yeah.. may be you guys are already aware of this but here is an interesting way to discover new things every single day. I have subscribed to Commarts Dot Com daily news letter. Everyday one can get interesting feeds to posts, blogs, graphic work, interaction work and much more. For instance today I came across a visual search engine called Niice. To every single keyword you enter you get a bunch of visuals. I would strongly recommend subscribing to Commarts for your daily dosage of design.