In this humorous collection of essays, exercises and puzzles, author Bruce Balentine offers a satirical insider s perspective of the IVR and speech recognition industry. "It's Better to Be a Good Machine than a Bad Person" provides a backstage tour of the science of ergonomics and the philosophy of user interface design, making a strong case for predictability and usability over delight as a primary design goal. In his fun, easy-to-read style, Balentine points out that Jetsonian thinking which has predominantly influenced phone-based self-service interface design for the past decade and a half is on the way out. He stresses that the attempt to create humanlike applications has been the root cause of the abysmal performance in spoken interfaces that we all experience regularly.
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Bruce Balentine is a design consultant specializing in speech, audio and multimodal user interfaces. In more than two decades of work with speech recognition and related speech technologies, Bruce has designed more than a dozen user interfaces for telecommunications, desktop multimedia, entertainment, language training, medical, in-vehicle, and home automation products. Bruce received a Bachelor of Music in 1971, and a Master of Music in 1975 both in composition from the University of North Texas. Pursuing an early career in electronic synthesis, computer music, multimedia production and studio engineering, he joined the computer industry in 1982 as a lab engineer and media specialist for Future Computing. His focus since has been on integrating computer science with human factors by applying aesthetically-sensible usability design principles. Bruce has written four books about speech technologies: "It's Better to Be a Good Machine Than a Bad Person" (2007); "How to Build a Speech Recognition Application," with David Morgan (1999, 2002); "A Practical Guide to Phonetic Recognition" (1997); and "The GoodListener Cookbook" (1992). Bruce is EVP and Chief Scientist for Enterprise Integration Group, Inc., a user interface research and consulting firm.
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