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How can I collect alphabet characters using the phone's keypad?

I have an app where I'd like to ask a user to enter a small string of numbers and letters. Like "P8P6". I coded up something to work like a cell phone...to enter the letter A, press the number 2 twice. To enter the above string, press 7-7-8-7-7-6-*. But, it's cumbersome and prone to error. I was wondering if anyone has done this and has any advice.

The "errors" I'm talking about are:
1) No delete/backspace
2) Pressing a key too quickly causes it to fail
3) The flow is confusing, even with people used to typing on older cell phones.
4) It's slow

Call 866-583-6913 and enter the code 6881-7909
Try the GC code P8P6

If anyone wants to see the code, respond to this post.
-Dave
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  • Hi David, neat solution. If you have a chance to post the code I'd love to see.

    Did you implement an audio sub-menu for each letter group? e.g. If you press 2 you get a submenu asking you to press 1 for 'a', 2 for 'b', 3 for 'c'.

    -Evan
    Twilio.com
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  • I’m curious
    Hi Evan,
    I made the project available at http://www.reliableresponse.net/downl...
    It's in Java with JSP. It's just a collection of JSP files, you'll have to build your own webapp. Of course, it's unsupported. LGPL

    You can play with it at
    CALL (866) 583-6913
    ENTER PIN 6881-7909
    We address is http://174.51.74.205:8888/twiliocache...
    but, there's no HTML. It's just TwilML.

    I uses a system like cellphones use. Press 2 once for "2", twice for "a", three times for "b" and four times for "c".

    It's missing some features. Like, typing in the same letter twice, like look, book, tool, etc, doesn't work. And, if you actually spell out a word, the TTS will read it, not the individual letters.

    I'm putting it out there to
    1) Introduce the idea and get feedback
    2) Ask if there are programming patterns I could use to make this a reusable component
    3) Ask for any better ideas.

    Thanks!
    -Dave
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  • Very cool Dave. Thanks for sharing.

    I wonder if a message like "Press the number on the keypad that corresponds to letter you wish to enter and then listen to the sub-menu to select the specific number" might be easier to understand when you doing it for the first time.

    -Evan
    Twilio.com
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