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Chapter Five. Developing the Design > Constructing a Design Specification

Constructing a Design Specification

One way to create a detailed Design Specification is simply to make a table for each state that has been defined (that is, each box in the call flow diagram). By including the elements listed below (along with any other pertinent development-specific information) for any given state, the designer can make things much easier for the programmer.

  • The name of the state (and its state number).

  • The names of the state(s) that lead into it.

    For example, callers may enter the “main menu” state from the “welcome” state.

  • The names (and/or unique numbers) of the prompts.

    The prompt types—for example, initial, retry, timeout, and help—refer to the various common prompts used in many speech-recognition systems (more on these prompt types and writing them will be found in Chapter 6.)

  • The text of the prompts to be played to the caller and any conditional statements about when to play them.

    For example, a particular prompt might be played only to expert or repeat callers, while a more verbose prompt would be played only to novice callers at that point in the call. For example, novice users might hear, “Enter or say the phone number, being sure to include the area code”—compared to the expert user who hears, “What's the phone number?”

  • Any spoken words or phrases the system will need to recognize, and the touchtones that will be recognized (as a backup to the speech recognition).

    A typical system would have a list of commands, such as “Transfer funds,” “Find a check,” and so on. Also listed would be synonyms for these commands as well as the set of recognized touchtone equivalents.

    CommandSynonyms (if any)Touchtone equivalent
    Transfer fundsTransfer1
     Funds transfer 
    Find a checkNone2
    Account BalanceBalances 
     Account information3

  • The go to statements for each recognition.

    For example, when the system recognizes a banking caller who says “Transfer funds” or presses the appropriate touchtone key, it should “go to” a state named “5100 transfer funds, first state, get amount.”

  • Any special prompts needed to confirm recognition of a caller.

  • Special notes about the state.

    For example, “Don't let the caller interrupt the prompt when playing the confirmation message.” These may also be notes to the programmers explaining how to handle special cases, like “Don't play the default apology prompt when the system makes a mistake. Instead, play prompt number 12005: “Oops, let's try again….”



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