What is VoiceXML?

VoiceXML, abbreviated as vxml, is short for voice extensible markup language and is a standard set of guidelines for setting up audio dialog and interaction between a person and a computer. These standards can be thought of as guidelines a programmer must follow when creating a voice browser. Using a voice browser is like using the Internet to view web pages, however, instead of creating written content that appears on the screen, the user receives content read out loud to him to which he responds by pressing certain keys or responding verbally. Often a telephone is used to allow interaction between the user and the computer program.

A common example of voiceXML in action is an automated phone call where the user is not talking to a real person. Several businesses handle customer service by allowing a machine to answer the phone call. The user presses numbers on the phone to choose from a list of options the machine reads to him, or says the choice he wants out loud. He might be asked what the call is about and would say, “I want to pay my bill.” The computer would then connect him to the payment department.

Just as programmers create web pages by typing up code that tells the computer what to display on the screen, programmers use voiceXML to create code that tells the computer what to read out loud and how to respond based on the user’s choices. When using computer code known as XHTML to create a website, programmers follow a set of guidelines known as XML. VoiceXML is the set of guidelines for how voice dialog code must be written. The WC3, short for the World Wide Web Consortium, is an organization that creates these guidelines. This ensures that all programmers create code the same way, making it easier to change later on, even if the programmer changing the code is not the one who wrote it.

Voice recognition has grown over the past few years. Many businesses now use it for a variety of services, from placing orders to providing customer service. The company hires programmers to write out the code for each of these applications, following the guidelines described by voiceXML. A cell phone provides a number of voice recognition features, such as hands-free dialing where the user simply says the name out loud of who he wants to call.