Voicemail User Interface

Voicestream is going through an upgrade of their voicemail system, pitched as an upgrade. I’m sure that the upgrade is technically necessary, but there is at least one feature that is going to be a real pain.

Formerly, the 7 key was the ‘Play Message’ key. It is now the ‘Delete Message’ key. Previously, I would dial the voicemail number, then hit 7 without listening. I’m pretty sure that I’m going to wind up deleting messages before I’m through the transition.

Previously their system was pretty good; only a minumum of key presses to deal with the normal function of voicemail. Much better than the one at work.

At work if I want to get messages, I have to: Hit the VM button, then type in my extension followed by #, My password followed by #, then wait. It them tells me how many messages I have waiting. (So far, it’s reasonable, but you could certainly get my extension from the phone, and know that all of the passwords are 4 digits, saving half of the keystrokes.) The next menu asks: Press 1 to Record Greetings, Press 2 for somehting else, Press 3 to listen to messages. Umm, I’ve just logged in. 99% of the time, I want to listen to my messages. Either start playing it, or make it the first choice. As a result, I don’t normally want to get my messages. I could go on, but it just gets worse from there.

I’m not a UI designer; there are loads of things that you could critique in my designs. But I generally try to make the common function the easiest thing to do, and I try to make delete hard to accidentially trigger.

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