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Stratis Valachis, Designing for Voice Interfaces

In his talk Stratis discusses techniques for designing for voice interfaces, as well as the future of this medium

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Stratis Valachis, Designing for Voice Interfaces

  1. 1. Voice interfaces are the future Voice interfaces suck
  2. 2. Agenda 1. What are voice interfaces? 2. When they suck 3. When they’re great 4. How to design for them 5. What the future holds
  3. 3. Voice user interfaces (VUI) enable users to interact with computers through voice and speech.
  4. 4. Speech recognition Speech synthesis
  5. 5. Source:Nandini Stocker @ Google
  6. 6. • We are born knowing the fundamental rulesfor language(LAD) • Young childrenwill notice if adults around them made grammatical mistakes. Noam Chomsky
  7. 7. • Context • Experience • Empathy • Subtext • Common sense Human to human conversations
  8. 8. Are we there yet?
  9. 9. NOPE
  10. 10. But we’ve gone a long way
  11. 11. The Voder-1930
  12. 12. The Voder - 1930 The Harpy System - 1976 Hidden Markov model – 1980s Dragon Dictation – 1990s Google voice search - 2008 Siri - 2011Audrey - 1952 Alexa - 2014
  13. 13. Technological constraints Medium constraints (temporary) (permanent)
  14. 14. Conversational systems are not really “smart” yet Technological constraint #1
  15. 15. Speech recognition is still not 100% accurate Technological constraint #2
  16. 16. Speech output still sounds robotic Technological constraint #3
  17. 17. Voice is a transient and invisible medium
  18. 18. Reliance on recall • Remember how to ask things • Remember what you’re allowed to ask • Remember what you said throughoutthe entire exchange Medium constraint #1
  19. 19. Source:Nate Clinton @ Cooper
  20. 20. Linear progress • You can’t skim throughinformation • You don’t see the entire picture Medium constraint #2
  21. 21. Medium constraint #3 Poor error prevention & recovery • Since voice is invisible, you can’t always spot errorsstraightaway • Once you spot an errorit’s not easy to correctit
  22. 22. I want to go on a trip
  23. 23. Ok, where would you like to go?
  24. 24. Auckland
  25. 25. I want to go on a tripOk, where would you like to go?Auckland Your next destination Oakland, California. From which airport would you like to depart?
  26. 26. I want to go on a tripOk, where would you like to go?I actually meant Auckland, New Zealand
  27. 27. I want to go on a tripOk, where would you like to go?Auckland Your next destination Oakland, California. From which airport would you like to depart? I actually meant Auckland, New ZealandGreat! A flight from Oakland Califorina, to Auckland, New Zealand!
  28. 28. People can’t listen as quickly as they read Medium constraint #5 Listening rate: 175-225 words per minute Reading rate: 350-500 words per minute
  29. 29. Privacy Medium constraint #6 Thereare things you won’t want to speak about in front of others.
  30. 30. Are they always bad?
  31. 31. Context Aarron Walter’s hierarchyof user needs
  32. 32. Speed • Search • Call an Uber • Setan alarm • Turn off the lights • Hear bank accountbalance Convenience • Listen to a recipe while cooking • Make a call while driving • Hear the headlineswhile you’re dressing for work • Ask for the definition of a word when you’re readinga book
  33. 33. 1. Map out the omnichannel journey 2. Define the personality 3. Act it out and test (Wizard of Oz) 4. Design functionality with user flows 5. Test and refine Process
  34. 34. Map out the omnichannel journey • How can you leverage different touch-points to shape expectations? • How will context affect the experience in different parts of the journey?
  35. 35. Define the personality • Reflect the core attributes of your brand • If the platformdoesn’t make the distinction between the character of the assistant and your product clear, don’t deviate from the default personality
  36. 36. Alexa acts as an intermediarybetween the user and the brand Google Assistantpasses the userover to a different character Uber: “Hi, this is Uber, there’s an Uber less than a minute away…” Alexa: “There’s an Uber less than a minute away, would you like me to order it?”
  37. 37. Act it out and test • Write down a basic script for the core parts of the experience. Act it out or use voice simulators • User test early ideas using the WOZ technique
  38. 38. Map out the functionality • Map out the all the different steps, the ways user can phrase their input and technical considerations • Work closely with stakeholders
  39. 39. Test and refine • Try to recruit participants who are familiar with Alexa. If you can’t invest time in the beginning of the session to familiarise them with the interface and the device. • For usability tweaks, guerrila testing can work well
  40. 40. Voice usability tips • Speak naturally: Avoid things like “Tocontinue sayContinue” • Use the “one-breath” test • Don’t present more than 3 options • Use conversation markers: “got it”, “halfway there”,“next” • Make the distinction between “I didn’t hear” vs. “I heard but I don’t understand” clear
  41. 41. Learnings • Users will expectpersonalisedexperiences.If possible offer account-linking with the accountof the brand. • Users need reassurancethatsensitive information is safe • Users try to find shortcuts • The more open ended the skill is the higher the likelihood of errors • Be careful of free entry input. Alexamatches your utteranceto the closest word she knows.
  42. 42. Resources Amazon – Voice design bestpractices Google– Design principles for actions Design guidelines Microsoft– Voice design bestpractices Literature Tools SaySpring - Voice Prototyping VoiceLabs- Analytics
  43. 43. “Jarvis, rotate the hologram 80 degrees” vs
  44. 44. 3 key takeaways • Voice interfaces are less usablethan GUI for most cases becausevoice is transient and invisible • Theyare greatfor speed and convenience in certain contexts • The future is multi-modal
  45. 45. StratisValachis@gmail.com Get in touch @stratisvx

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