Effects of age, speech rate, and environmental support in using telephone voice menu systems
Task Performance and Analysis
Age differences in the use of telephone menu systems were investigated in two experiments. Participants from three age groups (younger: 18-39; middle-aged: 40-59; older: 60+ years) were required to obtain specified information or perform some action using simulated voice menu systems. Measures reflecting task performance, menu navigation, and subjective responses were collected. The focus in Experiment 1 was on examining the effect of speech rate. Data from 196 participants indicated age differences in performance, especially for complex problems. There was no effect of speech rate on any of the performance measures. Experiment 2 examined two types of support devices: a screen phone and a graphical aid. Data from 114 participants indicated that the screen phone provided some benefits in navigational efficiency. In terms of performance, the older participants benefited more from the graphical aid and the younger participants performed better with the screen phone. Actual or potential applications of this research include guidance in the use of support devices that can reduce memory demands and the identification of appropriate speech rates.