Voice Business Systems for Beginners Module 2 – Part 1

This is an educational series about voice productivity business systems. This module is about Dictation Systems. If you have not done so, you may wish to review the introduction in module one first.

There are many extremely powerful reasons which answer the question “why dictate” however the focus here is on the implementation and integration of the systems and its users.

It is important to understand that the concept of dictation goes far beyond one person talking while another person sits in the room with a little short hand machine. It includes powerful speech recognition, mobile devices, workflow routing and cloud services.

Module 2: Dictation Systems

Talking is one of the most dominant forms of creating content in every organization and much of it needs to be captured into a written form for some further purpose. This can be done through a dictation system.

A dictation system will have these basic qualities;

  1. It allows you to make a recording of your content
  2. It allows you to manage your file collection and file transcription status
  3. It allows you to edit and prioritize files
  4. It can be integrated into or interface with a larger, more complex system
  5. It allows you to get a document back from a transcription service

Intuitive vs Visual Considerations

Creating a dictation engages our brain in a unique and powerful way, but when we make a subconscious shift from an intuitive to a visual state, it can break our voice recording process.

When using a recorder, the moment you have to look at the recorder to find the play or pause button, in that moment your brain must temporarily replace the creative thoughts with “where is the button” and “did I press it correctly” etc.

Therefore an intuitive recording control such as a slide switch that has a form fitted shape that your thumb just knows how to use, is really important. It’s the same as a brake pedal on a car, we don’t look down at our feet, identify it, decide what foot to use and then press it, and our brain just does it. Always look for intuitive use that keep a user focused on task.


Device Shape

The physical shape of a user held device will determine how your fingers naturally land on the controls and naturally use them at the subconscious level. How easy is it for your fingers to naturally flow from one or more controls to another and back is the first building block in delivering the highest intuitive experience.



What you need to do to a control to engage it, the control’s responsiveness and feedback is paramount to removing the need for visual confirmations to completely engage the device by intuitive operation.



Of course you will need to look at the device from time to time and the ability to see exactly what you need quickly is more than necessary. Look for displays with big, clear and uncluttered layouts.

Understanding File Attributes

A file attribute is a specific piece of data that is attached to a file. Some attributes are automatically assigned by the system while others are manually assigned by the user through functions.

Some examples of automatically assigned attributes by the dictation system are;

  • File Name
  • File Type
  • File Length
  • File Size
  • Encryption Key

Some examples of manually assigned attributes through user functions are;

  • Priority
  • EOL (End of Letter)
  • Barcode
  • Attachments

Dictation System User Functions

A dictation system will have many basic user functions such as record and pause as well as many advanced functions which can be manually assigned.

In your dictation system, you may need a specific function such as a barcode reader in order to match your file identifiers to your content. What I always recommend is talking to a professional who deals with dictation systems equipment and asking what functions are available to meet your needs.

Some Examples of advanced functions are;

EOL or End of Letter

EOL is the Acronym for “End of Letter”. This is the final signal to establish that a dictation has reached its conclusion and no further dictation is expected. EOL is not automatic, it is an attribute that is assigned to a recording by the author via the EOL function.


Priority is another attribute assigned by the user. A file is either marked as a priority as in to say, “Yes, this dictation is a priority and should processed over normal priorities”. Not marking a file will default to a normal priority.

Priority affects the order of a transcription queue with files marked “Priority” being bumped to the top. If you use an external transcription service, you should understand how priority requests affect your promised turn-around time and potential increase in cost.


This refers to the inline editing of a voice file. Editing could be removing parts of the file and/or adding in a new part regardless of beginning, middle or end. Editing should be visual where by you can see on the device display a timeline of the recording and interact with the content displayed.

Barcode reader

Allows you to attach a barcode ID to a voice file. This establishes the relationship between the physical paper dossier and the voice file.

Microphone sensitivity and clarity

If you have every tried to listen to your own voice recording and transcribe it, you will quickly realize how important microphone quality and recording clarity is. If you do a lot of dictating, I recommend that you spend some time testing this function at the transcription side.

Removable memory

Some dictation systems, especially portable dictation systems have built in memory chips which allow you to either interchange memory chips just like changing a cassette tape.

Device security

Modern dictation systems have a PIN code protection which prevents unwanted access and use of the device.

File Encryption

Since many dictations are of a confidential nature, a good dictation system will allow you to encrypt your voice file so that it remains secure to unwanted access even after it leaves the protection of the dictation system and enters another system for another purpose such as transcription, speech recognition or document archives


Next Module

In module 2 – part 2 topics covered include;

  • Automated Transference
  • Needs Assessments
  • Security
  • Work Environment Considerations
  • Application of Concepts

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