Accessibility, Voice, IVR and Branding Consulting Case Studies

This page highlights many of my consultancies and projects. For additional voice-based activities see A comprehensive chronology of Tim’s voice & technology experience

Inclusive Design Strategy Consultant/Advisor to Technocrat

During 2015 I was engaged by Technocrat to guide and assist them with their accessibility/Inclusive Design policies and processes.

This multi-month engagement included staff education for designers and developers, guidance on enhancing the accessibility of Drupal, as well as development of organisational policies and procedures relating to accessibility and user experience.

Technocrat also engaged me to create and deliver a conference keynote in Canberra to inform key Commonwealth Departments on emerging trends and design excellence in Inclusive User Experience Design.

Vocal Branding Audit, Voice Selection, IVR Script Review and Vocal Direction for Red Energy

Tim Noonan was engaged by Red Energy (a division of Snowy Hydro) to undertake a Vocal Branding Audit leading to a Brand Voice Recommendation for use on their upcoming IVR and related voice services.

To arrive at this recommendation we interviewed contact centre management and staff to understand their challenges and expectations with managing customer contact; examined call center Agent demographics; listened to recordings of inbound and outbound calls; as well as reviewing corporate and branding documentation.

We also carried out a comprehensive review of their upcoming IVR/message on hold scripts to ensure Australian IVR Standards compliance and to optimise their wordings for naturalness and clarity.

We were then engaged to meticulously direct the voice talent in studio to fully reflect Red Energy’s corporate and brand values through sound and to maximise caller’s aural comprehension of the script.

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Interactive Voice Design Presentation/Workshop for Stamford Interactive

Tim delivered an interactive 2.5 hour presentation/workshop for Stamford Interactive exploring the emerging area of voice interaction and design for mobile devices such as the iPhone and iPad.

It’s exciting to see voice interaction and mobile accessibility gain greater attention and interest in the usability and UX field.

“On behalf of the Sydney team, thanks again for coming round to give us first hand examples of your mobile experience and accessibility knowledge. We loved the presentation and discussions and I’ve received very positive feedback on your behalf. We hope to continue the conversation soon.” – Joseph Ortenzi, Senior User Experience Consultant

Please Contact Us if you would like us to develop and present a tailored usability/accessibility workshop for your organisation.

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Audio Logo Development and Brand Consulting for Media Access Australia

Tim worked with Media Access Australia to assist them in their corporate brand refresh including market research, brand strategy, development and implementation.

We conceptualised and developed an Audio Logo for Media Access Australia designed to express their brand values through sound, and create a memorable audio association with the organisation. This Audio Logo has been incorporated in a variety of MAA’s media including: their website, educational videos and podcasts.

Listen to Media Access Australia’s Audio Logo

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NSW Electoral Commission’s iVote IVR Telephone and Online Voting Initiative

Earlier in 2010 the NSW Premier announced the State’s intention to provide blind and vision impaired voters with an independent and secret vote in the 2011 NSW State election. the NSW Electoral Commission subsequently embarked on iVote, comprising iVote by Phone, an automated telephone-based voting service principally for blind and low vision voters, as well as iVote by Web, an internet-based voting system, for voters with disabilities and also those electors outside NSW on poling day or who did not live close to NSW poling centres.

Tim Noonan was engaged by the NSW Electoral Commission as the Lead voice Usability designer and Accessibility expert for the iVote project.

“The fully automated IVote system used in NSW is superior to any other we have seen in an Australian election so far, and voters have clearly endorsed the system by using it in greater numbers than ever before. We will be working towards encouraging this system as the gold standard for future elections.” – Marianne Diamond, Vision Australia

In 2011 iVote was issued with Vision Australia’s Making A Difference Award.

Watch the iVote Youtube Video Here

Tim Noonan’s extensive iVote involvement over an intense 9 month period included:

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  • Conceptual design and comprehensive scripting of wording for iVote by Phone;

  • Preparation of functional software design specifications;

  • Development of automation systems and processes for processing audio, automating text-to-speech and maximising audio quality;

  • Researching recording studio options and recommending a studio Twenty5Eight who we worked with for the extensive and highly time-critical voice recording requirements of the iVote project;

  • Preparation of a Vocal Branding profile for each of the three key ‘voices’ required for iVote which we used to cast voice talent;

  • Meticulous vocal direction of voice talent for the recording of hundreds of prompts and nearly 1000 candidate names;

  • Provided in-house Voiceover and audio production services for iVote promos;

  • Consulting to the Commission on promotional strategy to maximise the uptake of iVote by people with disabilities;

  • Web Accessibility and usability services including design recommendations, access consulting, conducting observational usability studies and ensuring web accessibility compliance in conjunction with Scenario Seven Pty Ltd;

  • Designing and conducting observational usability design studies for iVote by Phone;

  • Production of a brief promotional educational IVote Youtube Video in conjunction with The Wheel Agency;

  • Conducting several radio and TV interviews explaining and promoting iVote and its significance for people with disabilities.

Listen to the 5RPH Interview About iVote Here

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NSW Ministry of Health IVR Design

Tim Noonan worked closely with the Department to define a clear brand voice, develop a Vocal Branding strategy and support the implementation of the harmonisation/integration of a previously regionalised telephone health service throughout the State.

We conducted all the voice-related aspects of the project including:

  • In-depth strategic Vocal Branding analysis of the integrated service;

  • Creating and refining call-flows and telephone scripts;

  • Identifying and sourcing the best Brand Voice to naturally reflect the service values;
  • In-studio voice direction;
  • Audio editing and post production tasks;
  • User experience research involving the development of a usability survey and a more detailed ethnographic study on the prototype service.

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Australian Electoral Commission Telephone Voting Standard

In 2010 Tim Noonan was engaged by the Electoral Council of Australia to research and develop an automated Telephone Voting Usability Standard to provide a flexible and consistent experience for voting in elections via the standard telephone.

This standard was then adopted and updated during the implementation of the NSW Electoral Commissions highly successful iVote initiative.

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In 2011 Tim Noonan was re-engaged to work with the ECA to review and comprehensively update this standard to incorporate the numerous learnings from the iVote implementation.

This Standard is applicable to Federal, State and Local elections, as well as for Industrial elections which are conducted on a fee-for-service basis by the Australian Electoral Commission.

Download The updated Version of the Australian Telephone Voting Standard in PDF

This initiative is an international first, and builds on Tim’s previous work developing a Standard for accessible telephone banking services for the Australian Bankers’ Association and his key authoring and involvement in the Standards Australia Interactive Voice Response and Speech Recognition Australian Standards.

In 2010 Tim Noonan also assisted the Commission in writing and refining call centre scripts associated with phone-assisted voting support activities.

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Leading Property Auctioneering Company

Tim worked with one of the leading Australian auctioneering companies to develop their corporate Vocal Brand to create greater trust in their services and to positively set them apart from their competition.

We have also been working with this client to develop a company-wide voice care program, to ensure that all staff know how to protect and develop their most vital asset – their voice!

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Vocal Branding Audit of the Leading Telephone Dating Service in Australia

Maxus engaged Tim Noonan to undertake a detailed Vocal Branding audit of the leading telephone dating service in Australia.

The audit included a range of distinct elements presented in an interactive workshop for Maxus and the client.

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  • Competitor analysis;
  • Exploration of online trends and how they are increasingly impacting phone-centric services;
  • The vocal branding ‘fit’ between the scripts and voices used in service advertising and the ‘voice’ of the phone dating service itself;
  • Analysis of callers including their use of the service and their attitudes towards it and to one another.
  • Consideration of service features, technological developments and recommendations on future service shaping and expansion.

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Earlier Consultancies

Wrote a comprehensive Report for Human Rights Commission on Accessibility of Home Appliances

Tim was commissioned in 2007 by the Human Rights Commission to research and author a report titled ‘The Overlooked Consumers: the One in Five Australians with Disability’ on the access issues for people with disabilities and older people, frequently presented by consumer electronics and home appliances.

Voice Output Voting Machines

In 2007 Tim was contracted by the Australian Electoral Commission as their Usability Expert, to assist in the development of talking voting machines which allowed people who are blind or vision impaired to cast a secret and independent vote in the 2007 Federal Election. Tim designed the input strategy, refined voting machine scripts, advised on the voice talents to be used, and directed the voice talent in-studio to announce the prompts and read out candidates names in a completely impartial and consistent manner.

Guidelines on Accessibility of Banking Authentication Technologies

In 2006-07 Tim was engaged as an accessibility consultant by the Australian Bankers’ Association to draft guidelines and advise on strategies to ensure that people with disabilities are not excluded by adoption of authentication technologies being deployed in the banking industry.

Voice Input/Output Technology Prototype – Smart Internet CRC

Tim was contracted to Griffith and NSW Universities as part of the “Smart Internet” Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) to specify user needs and features for the development of a prototype portable speech input/speech output mobile phone/PDA device for blind users and others in eyes-busy situations. He was also engaged to specify and refine the speech recognition and speech synthesis user interfaces for the device. (2003-04).

Australian Standard on IVR Telephone Service Speech Recognition

2002-5, Committee member and contributing author to the Australian standard on telephone based speech recognition user interface design AS 5061-2008

Four Accessible Electronic Banking Standards

Tim was engaged as an electronic banking accessibility specialist by the Australian Bankers’ Association, to draft and develop four industry standards on the accessibility of ATMs, EFTPOS, Internet Banking and Telephone Banking. (2001-02)

Report on Accessibility of E-Commerce

Tim was contracted to undertake a major project for Blind Citizens Australia (funded by the Commonwealth) on E-Commerce and smart-card technologies focusing on improving accessibility of electronic banking and online shopping services for people with disabilities (1999-2000).

He also researched and wrote a report for Blind Citizens Australia on the development of a braille-based text telephone for people who are deaf and blind. (1997)

St.George Bank IVR Telephone Banking Consulting

Tim consulted to St.George Bank on IVR/ACD applications (including extensive scripting), voice-coaching Julie Anthony in voiceover announcing, and system usability evaluation.

TTS-based IVR Design

Design and implementation for Vision Australia of three world-class fully-automated telephone-based information services:

Today’s News Now
A fully automated service that uses synthetic speech to provide interactive telephone access to the full text of several daily Fairfax and News Ltd newspapers. (The TNN newspaper service was recognised by the Library Board of Victoria, and the Victorian Public Library Network as an example of best practice in the provision of library services). Details can be found in: Libraries Building Communities; Report Four: Showcasing the Best, State Library of Victoria, 2005.)
A fully automated service utilising synthetic speech and web-scraping to provide callers with keyword searching and full access to job listings from the website;
A fully automated IVR library catalogue searching and browsing service providing live searches by author, title and subject interest area. It allows callers to hear book details and order books to be sent to them in the post.

Key features of these services include:

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  • Natural speaking of phone numbers, dates/times, abbreviations, place names and proper names;
  • Ability to navigate and review spoken information by paragraph, sentence or word;
  • Ability to spell words and proper names;
  • Use of voice fonts to indicate context and facilitate navigation;
  • Context-sensitive help system; and
  • Automatic compliance with the Australian and New Zealand IVR user interface standard (AS/NZS4263).

IVR User Interface Telephony Australian and NZ Standard

1992, commenced work on Standards Australia IT/22 Committee, dealing with IVR Voice User Interface design. Interactive Voice Response AS/NZS 4263

My involvement continued through to the final update version of the Standard. I was a primary author for several sections of the document (AS/NZS 4263)

Braille Production Computerisation

Planned and implemented the full in-house computerisation of Royal Blind Society’s braille transcription operations, and trained all staff in the new environment;

Unix-based Application Accessibility Development

In 1993-4 Tim worked with external software developers to develop voice output user interfaces for custom Unix and PC-based business applications. This is documented in: Development of an Accessible Speech User Interface for People who are Blind or Vision impaired. (1994) Royal Blind Society

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