About Me

Maria Aretoulaki - Pirate Party UK Manchester City Centre Council Candidate

Hi, I’m Maria Aretoulaki, Voice User Interace (VUI) Designer and Director of DialogCONNECTION Ltd, a UK-based Consultancy on Speech IVRs (Interactive Voice Response Systems) and Voice Recognition Applications.

I have been working on Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) applications and Voice User Interfaces (VUIs) since 1996. I specialise in envisioning, designing, implementing, testing, breaking (!), tuning and optimising speech user interfaces that are robust but still not irritating to use!  I particularly love so-called “mixed-initiative dialogues“, where the user can drive the conversation as much as the system. I also focus on spontaneous speech (i.e. longer phrases and whole utterances rather than just isolated keywords, but also swearwords!). Thus, I have been working among other things on IVR persona design and branding, dialogue scripting , usability testing, functionality testing, and application tuning for several industries, but also several languages (English, German, French, Greek, Italian, Spanish).

I have designed speech-enabled or voice-activated services as diverse as telephone banking systems, Government Helplines and voice diallers. I have worked for industries as diverse as Banking, multinational Tech companies and Telecoms, eCommerce, the UK and German Governments, as well as the EU, and for clients worldwide

Originally from Greece, I have spent the last two decades between the UK and Germany, and I speak English, German, French, and of course Greek fluently, but also have a working knowledge of Italian, Spanish and Portuguese (thanks to my Latin education!).

I hold Linguistics, English, and Language Engineering degrees from The University of Athens (Greece) and The University of Manchester (UK) and I have also been paid by the EU to have fun at The University of Erlangen-Nuremberg (Germany) too! I love the EU 😀

LinkedIn IVR Group – I got listed in the Top 4 “real” VUI Designers in the world!

Given that I have designed, tested, broken 😉 and generally abused a hell of a lot of speech IVRs and voice user interfaces, I decided back in May 2010 to start writing about my (good and bad) experiences with them, in an effort to provide concrete tips towards “VUI Design Best Practice“. I have actually been shortlisted in the Top 4 “proper” VUI Designers in the world (!!) on LinkedIn, along with the biggest names in the field who have authored some of the classic books on the subject. (My topping the alphabetical list is certainly one of the advantages of my surname, ahem!). So that has given me, I guess, full authorisation to bestow you with my pearls of voice recognition and VUI wisdom!

Enjoy reading and commenting! 🙂


3 Responses to “About Me”

  1. Ron Owen August 7, 2016 at 1:32 pm #

    Great unanswered questions!


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