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December 11th, 2003 · No Comments · Uncategorized

I have never designed a voice mail system. I have never done research on voice mail systems. But there must be some sort of vast voice mail conspiracy at work.

On my cell phone, the options after listening to a message are:

  1. Copy message to another user
  2. Delete the message
  3. Save the message
  4. Keep message new

I must be missing out on some sort of fun kids today are having forwarding their voice mails around to each other like mad. I mean, why else would the first option be “Forward?”

On my voice mail at work, the options are listening to a message are:

  1. Delete the message
  2. Save the message
  3. More options

In a configuration choice that reveals a certain something about thecorporate culture of where I work, you cannot delete a message while listening to it. That means if someone leaves a message and the line gets wacky at the end and you get 2 minutes of busy signal as a voice mail, if you do not possess the secret double key code that means “skip to end”, you have no choice but to listen to “boop boop boop boop” for the duration. My unscientific survey shows that about 5% of the people here know the secret code 33 to skip to the end.

What neither of these systems make obvious is the option to play the message again. I admit delete has got to be the #1 thing people tend to do after listening to a message, but play again has got to be number 2 (or 3 possibly, after save), especially when people seem to delight in speaking as fast and indistinctly as possible when leaving a phone number. Yet none of these voice mail systems reveal that option up front. They hide it.

Conny View definition in a new window’s voicemail at work is better in one way and worse in another. Each time she dials into it to pick up a message, the first menu she gets is:

  1. Record a message
  2. Listen to messages

Since people listen to messages 99% of the time, this menu is a complete waste. But at least the menu after it actually offers a chance to replay a message… as the last option, after delete, transfer, and save.

Makes me think I need to start forwarding my voice mail messages around more.

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