Voxeo Releases Designer 8

Voxeo  released Friday a new Web-native voice application development tool. Though available to Voxeo on-premises customers since August, Voxeo Designer 8 is now available to the general populace. Boasting a more streamlined interface than its predecessors, Designer 8 takes full advantage of the familiar Web 2.0 interface.

According to Voxeo CEO Jonathan Taylor, the biggest advantage with a Web interface is simplicity. "You don’t need any software installed," says Taylor. "The other thing is remote access. If you’re not at your computer, it’s easy to update remotely."

Leveraging VoiceXML, CCXML, and SIP/VoIP, Designer 8 features more steps to prompt users and assist them in understanding options and inputting information. Designer 8 has improved call flow chart visualization, a new zoom and pan capability, and a "tree view" analogous to the one featured in Windows Explorer. Users can import and export projects between hosted and premise deployments. Ultimately, the goal for Designer 8 was to create a fast, user-friendly application that allows inexperienced users to easily create both VoIP and IVR applications.

"The major roadblock to mass adoption of speech technology has been the cost and complexity of creating applications," said Taylor in a press release. "With Voxeo Designer, anyone can create and deploy voice applications, in just minutes, for free."

However, the problem with creating voice applications isn’t always the technical difficulty of designing them—the advent of Voice XML in 1999 vastly improved the ease with which such applications could be developed. On the other hand, designing an efficient interface that doesn’t frustrate callers has become a top priority.

Regarding the adoption of speech applications, it’s important to remember that while technical proficiency is important, it’s just as if not more important to have speech experts on hand that understand how to create the smoothest interaction between speech interface and callers. It’s a dilemma that Voxeo was conscientious of when it created Designer 8.

"Rather than have the user design every little thing—the yes-no question, what the prompts should be—the tool does all that for you automatically," says Taylor. "The best practices of VUI design are built into the underpinnings of the tool itself. It doesn’t let you build an application without good re-prompting logic. We’ve done a lot to try to address that exact issue by building those best practices in."

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