Biographical Information

Melanie Polkosky

Human Factors Psychologist & Consultant - IBM/Center for Multimedia Arts (University of Memphis)


Melanie Polkosky, PhD, CCC-SLP is a speech-language pathologist and social-cognitive psychologist who specializes in human factors and interpersonal communication. She is a consultant for IBM and the Center for Multimedia Arts (University of Memphis), where she is engaged in applied design, user research, usability evaluation, mentoring, and education.

Articles by Melanie Polkosky

VUI Design: A Career Path Less Taken

Hiring the art of creative constraint

Reports of Persona's Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

New technologies encourage speech designers to get creative.

A Change Is Gonna Come

Steps for making sure it's the change you need

If It’s a Tornado, Just Text Me

Automated messaging must be highly relevant and user-specific

Watson: Much Ado About Toronto

Jeopardy gaffe by IBM's intelligent speaking supercomputer underscores importance of resolving miscommunication

The Hooptedoodle of Phone

The rules of writing also apply to script design.

To Usability Test...Or Not?

Sometimes conditions exist that can send tests awry.

The Guitar and the Case of Opportunity Lost

New game brings out a speech technology wish list.

Opening the Kimono

Lessons learned from some past speech deployment mistakes.

All Dressed Up with Nowhere to Go

IVR could be the weakest link in the communications chain.

Goldilocks and the Three IVRs

Usage data comes in three sizes: too little, too much, and [rarely] just right.

What I Learned Waiting Tables

The server's tone sets the tone for the type of tip

Politically Speaking...and Reacting

I'm still haunted by the robocall months after the election.

Contradicting a Legend

The less memorable a VUI, the better

Intuiting Design

Listen to your gut, but back it up with user data.

Air Cover in the Trenches

User research is our best defense in the design war

Exploring VUI Designers: the Faces of Speech

Findings reveal unique characteristics that bind us as a profession.

The Characters You Meet in VUI Design

Working effectively with the other personas can lead to a smoother sales pitch and buy-in process.

Ivy League IVR

Respect-it can be a difficult, yet highly desirable value to attain. Most people want respect; it's a basic human motivation to be treated with dignity.

What Is Speech Usability Anyway?

Perhaps one of the great ironies in the field known alternatively as human factors, human-computer interaction, or user-centered design, is that some of its central concepts are exceedingly difficult to define. Take usability, for instance. Walk into any enterprise that claims to know something about technology (or uses it for business operations) and take an informal poll about what this term really means. In all likelihood, you’ll get as many answers as people you ask.…