Biographical Information

Susan Hura

Principal - SpeechUsability


Susan L. Hura, Ph.D., is the founder of SpeechUsability, a consultancy focusing on improving the user experience by incorporating user-centered design practices in speech technology projects. Susan started and managed the usability program at Intervoice as their Head of User Experience, and prior to that worked a member of the human factors team at a Lucent Technologies, providing experience in user interface design, usability testing, and speech acoustics. She held a faculty position at Purdue University in the Department of Audiology and Speech Sciences where she cofounded a multidisciplinary research team dedicated to studying novel approaches to computer speech recognition. Susan holds a doctorate in Linguistics from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a frequent invited presenter at speech technology and usability conferences, and serves on the Board of Directors of AVIOS (the Applied Voice Input Output Society).

Articles by Susan Hura

With Voice Systems, Hiding Complexity Is a Must

Added functionality shouldn't equal a burden on users

Rules of Design Engagement

Share design thinking for the most effective buy-in.

In Praise of User Research

Consider this solution to reel in elusive answers.

A Foolish Consistency in User Interfaces

When serving customers, a little change can be a good thing.

The Perils of PIN Proliferation

Why is secure identification so difficult?

When Bad IVRs Are Good Enough

Users accustomed to substandard systems can't imagine any better.

VUI Designers Know Cross-Channel Design

Mobile apps raise expectations—and the bar.

Usability Testing Connects the Dots

This valuable tool offers unique insights into caller motivations.

May I Have Your Attention, Please?

When designing an IVR, consider the impact of caller distraction.

Where's My Flight?

Studying use cases and context helps to improve self-service.

Irrationally Held Truths Take a Toll

When organizations make assumptions about customers, rather than collect real data, self-service applications suffer

Unhappily Ever After

A fable about the limits of expertise

Empathy, Dollars, and Sense

It's not enough to simply say you understand the customer.

Avatars Meet the Challenge

A SpeechTEK Europe session showed the appeal of the technology.

What Usability Testing Can't Tell Us

And when's the best time to get it done.

The Modality of Last Resort

Consider the IVR avoiders as well as the supporters.

Are You Happy When People Call?

We should be grateful when customers call us to complain.

IVRs and Traumatic Brain Injury

Situational awareness boosts system and company credibility.

Is Your Goal to Get Rid of Money?

Relying solely on industry standards sets the bar too low.

Are You Working Hard to Suck Less?

Instead, why not design something people are happy to use?

What Counts as VUI?

Learn the business rules before starting to design.

Getting Users to Do What We Want

Designers continually struggle with how to get the responses they need.

Psych! Don't Send Callers to a Web Site

They used their phones for a reason, so don't redirect them elsewhere.

Ethics in VUI Design

Offer advice that you can back up with evidence.

Are We There Yet?

The state of the user experience in the speech community.

A Tale of Two Conferences

Events point to an end of the 'us-versus-them' mentality.

How Good Is Good Enough?

Setting metrics for measuring the success of speech applications goes beyond recognition rates

Great Expectations

At the recent SpeechTEK conference, a group of VUI specialists spent a day defining a set of success criteria for speech-enabled user interfaces. We necessarily limited our focus to criteria for which we could define metrics for measuring each quality. However, this leaves out one vital factor for the success of a VUI: the role of expectation. I’m referring to the expectations that users have when they interact with a speech-enabled application, the expectations that…

Passing the Test

Far too companies experience disappointment and delays in realizing the value of speech because they fail to test properly. Dr. Susan L. Hura explains why the time and effort spent in proper testing is significantly less than the costs of going live with a problematic application.

The Value of Usability Testing for Speech-Enabled Applications

In an increasingly automated world, speech-enabled applications and services are often touted as a way for companies to provide a human touch in customer service without employing live agents. However, to be successful, automated speech applications must evolve quickly to meet the needs of consumers who expect highly effective, efficient solutions that are likable and quickly learned.

Dragon Slays Robot

In his book Only the Paranoid Survive, Intel’s Andy Grove uses the term “strategic inflection point” to describe “what liberal arts people call a paradigm shift” - (basically, a point in time where a business can go one of two ways.) While the choice at the time may appear to be between two very similar paths, choosing the right one leads to great success, while the wrong choice can be catastrophic. For example, the development of the Internet and E-commerce confronts many marketers with a strategic inflection point.