Using an automated service to access information via the telephone has become an important productivity enhancer in the developed world. However, such automated services are generally quite inaccessible to users who have had little technological exposure. There has been a widespread belief that speech-recognition technology can be used to bridge this gap, but little objective evidence for this belief has been produced. To address this situation, two interfaces, touchtone and speech-based, were designed and implemented as input modalities to a system that provides technologically unsophisticated users with access to an informational/transactional service. These interfaces were optimised and compared using transaction completion rates, time taken to complete tasks, error rates and user satisfaction. The speech-based interface was found to outperform the touchtone interface in terms of completion rate, error rate and user satisfaction. The data obtained on time taken to complete tasks could not be compared as the DTMF interface data were highly influenced by people who are not technologically unsophisticated. These results serve as a confirmation that speech-based interfaces are more effective and more satisfying and can therefore enhance information dissemination to people who are not well exposed to the technology.