The UX of Phone-Tree Systems: 16 Usability Guidelines

Summary: Users who call organizations often find themselves in frustrating phone trees. Badly designed interactive voice response (IVR) systems violate many of the 10 usability heuristics.

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A phone tree (also called an Interactive Voice-Response [IVR] system) generally consists of prerecorded audio messages that are presented when someone calls a business or organization. In most cases, callers select a number on the phone keypad associated with the recorded option most closely related to their question. In an increasing number of cases, callers can also summarize their question in a short word or phrase that the system will try to recognize in order to connect them with useful information.

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