Tuesday, 22 November 2011

iPhone and the female voice

On launch. much was made of the new iPhone 4S and the use of a female voice for its Siri technology...except in France and UK where the default is male (you change it for a female voice but only with a US or Australian accent!).  Some of the press here have reported studies that say a female voice is "more pleasing" (we've not done any research ourselves).  But why are we different in the UK (or France)?  There seem to be lots of theories about the choice of a male or female voice for different purposes but nothing to explain why we and the French seem to regard this different from the rest of the world (and Apple seem to be keeping quiet on the subject too!).  Any thoughts?

Perhaps the bigger question is whether Siri is any good or not.  We have iPhones as our company phones so have all had a play with it in the office.  It's certainly surprised us with being able to answer questions other than "what is the weather tomorrow?".  And find these answers is quicker than doing a web search.  But there's something strange about asking your phone questions in public!  Maybe for now, until we all get used to the technology as it grows (and maybe becomes the main way we interact), its seems to be something for occasional use when there is no-one around!

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Thursday, 10 November 2011

Call for entries for Ergonomics Design Award

The Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors have opened the call for entries for the next Ergonomics Design Award which we sponsor.

The award is open to all designers who can demonstrate the application of ergonomics to this highest standard in a project, product or design.  It's all about showing quality of user centered design in whatever capacity it is applied.  It brings a financial prize as well as the kudos of having been awarded the prize from a really high class judging panel.

The first two years of the award produced two very different winners with the London Underground S-Stock trains by Bombardier last year and a welding visor for 3M in the first year.  And a really wide range of other shortlisted products and designs too.

So if you are interested, go to to find out more information and how to apply.  Good luck!