Make automated phone systems usable by everyone. We propose that the "zero" digit be reserved for reaching a human operator on all phone systems sign now

This is a petition and proposal to make automated phone answering systems usable by everyone. We see this as an obligation on legislators, standards creators and system designers. Complex systems that can not be used by everyone violate our rights to equal access.

Many people are unable to get critical services and help because of complex phone answering systems. People with even mild hearing or cognitive challenges are especially disadvantaged and can be excluded from these services.

As many emergency and critical services are now using these automated answering systems, we need to make them as easy as possible to use on any phone. Further, people abilities vary and deteriorate at times stress or of ill health. People therefore need to be familiar and comfortable with a standard way to reach an operator, so that they can easily get service in times of stress or panic. We therefore propose to standardize how a user can reach a human on all phone systems.

We propose that the "zero" digit be reserved for reaching a human operator on all phone systems with automatic menus. On any answering system, pressing a "0" would take you to a human operator.

From a technical perspective this should include:

For standards organizations and system designers, relevant specifications should require:
a, At any time on any system "0" will take the user to a human operator,
b, the "zero" digit can not be assigned for anything else and hence can not support a follow on menu, and
c, in every system file there is a default extension for the "zero" digit identified, without which the file is invalid and will not work at all.

For legislators and policy makers: Easy access for phone systems should be included in accessibility legislation, and where possible we recommend including an automatic fine in the event of violations or loss of a GSA approval or similar deterrent.

For system implementers and customers: Please make it easy to reach an operator, by following this proposal. At no point should the user reach a "dead end" and be unable to reach a human.

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Alyson MosesBy:
TelecommunicationsIn:
Petition target:
legislators, standards creators and system designers

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