To invent new ways of interaction, to create brand voice, to ensure the availability and privacy of information. Director of product Digital Telepathy Jason Amunwa talked about the possibilities and consequences of the transition to voice UX design.
Voice interface can safely be called the brand 2017. This is evidenced by recent performances at 2017 CES (Consumer Electronic Show), numerous discussions on technical blogs, and even commercials in front of my favorite show. The feeling that this is the year of the voice interaction will become mainstream.
About the possibility to talk with your devices so that they understand you and do what you are asking them today does not mean just lazy. Voice interaction has been integrated in almost every new device presented at CES 2017, regardless of its size and purpose. As AI platforms most manufacturers chose Amazon Alexa. Such a rapid spread of voice interface in digital systems personal use puts the designers a huge number of complex issues and problems.
It is obvious that in the near future, voice interaction will become a real alternative to traditional visual interfaces, but something will replace them completely. The emergence of voice interface, radically changing the approach to development for UX — as well as the emergence of touchscreen smartphones once changed the approach to web design. However, apparently, this change will manifest itself much faster and is not limited to on-screen interaction.
The transformation will affect almost every aspect of our lives. As soon as consumers start to talk with the products, producers will have to learn to meet the expectations of the users in advance when designing all the subtleties of the voice interaction. That is, to engage in whatever they are doing now with respect to the visual interface. Once the Internet became a childrens sandbox, which grew new principles of intuitive product design.
Similarly, modern voice technology. While they are only in their infancy, but carry a boundless potential that will result in innovative, user-centered design. In this article I will try to show the expansion of the voice interaction may affect UX design.
Before diving into the specifics of the impact of the voice interface in our industry, lets try to understand what forces are driving the rapid adoption of voice as a new medium of interaction. Until recently, the accurate processing of natural language belonged to the realm of fantasy. For the most part due to the lack of powerful computers that can recognize and interpret human speech in real time.
In 2016 the processing of language has undergone many significant improvements, and we finally reached the critical point, where computational power is sufficient to make voice interaction has become a viable alternative to visual interfaces. Improvements in natural language processing have set the stage for a new revolution in our interaction with technology. We more and more prefer the voice to the screen.
Sean Dubravac, lead economist of the Consumer Technology Association said that 2017 will be the turning point. Computers are equal to humans and will definitely transcribe human speech in 94% of cases. We are entering a brand new era of invisible computers. It is easy to assume that if today, almost every third inhabitant of the planet goes to earphones connected to a pocket supercomputer, the ability to control devices via voice will please many.
To teach machines to understand us correctly — is only the first step in the quest to achieve the free voice communication. The second step is to implement it in a variety of situations and contexts. And if the main condition of involving in the online space was the availability of Internet access, the choice of voice interaction would be limited to scenarios in which devices can understand.
At CES 2017 Alexa has demonstrated its viability as a universal platform. This was confirmed by many developers of hardware and software, as well as times growth of sales of the device Echo. Maybe Alexa is not perfect, but now she is a real contender to become the first voice platform to a wider audience.
As designers, we understand that people have always communicated with the technique with the help of intermediaries such as levers and pedals, punch cards and codes, graphic interfaces and touch screens and finally, the voices. Each advance on this path was dictated by the need to increase the speed and efficiency of the devices, and to make interaction with them easier and more affordable for the maximum number of people.
Today (until we learned to communicate with digital devices telepathically) voice is the culmination of the intuitive interfaces in order to democratize technology. Now that we generally understand that is the basis of the voice interaction, lets see, what does this trend for UX designers. In recent years, among designers of visual interfaces has become fashionable to avoid the use of formulaic and clichéd texts.
In the voice communication quality of the user experience will become even more dependent on the chosen words, because now the interface will not be accompanying visual cues. Designers of voice interfaces are one hundred percent responsible for how the user interpreterpath their chosen words and phrases. Obviously, in the voice interaction with devices will need some kind of standardized set of command phrases and keywords, so that users can intuitively move from one AI-system to another.
Best of all, if this set of commands will be limited, catchy and suitable for any of the AI assistants. What designers need to adapt to the limitations inherent in the new environment of interaction. We will not be able to clarify the denotation process with the help of images or use animation to explain complex concepts.
We will no longer be able to use clues like “Click here”. And even the most fundamental element in web design, clickable, the link will disappear from future standards of interface design. All this means that we have to develop a whole new set of scenarios, intuitive to any user. A key challenge for designers of the “transition period” will be the consecutive interpretation of commands of the visual interface taking into account the specifics of the voice interaction.
This is especially true for web applications. Not having a clear signal like pressing buttons, designers will be forced not only to anticipate the users intentions at each point of the dialogue, but also to formulate an appropriate response AI assistant. For example, the phrase “Take it out” can be a single command how to work with Microsoft Word documents and manage your profile settings in Facebook (if there will be voice support).
But behind these words the intention of the user and resulting scenarios will be radically different from each other. This distinction is not always easy to see. Lets both visual and voice interfaces are treated the same digital interaction — a subscription to the newsletter. In the traditional visual interface of a typical subscription process for the user looks like this:
Simple and straightforward, right. And here is how this process can be initiated by voice: There are an infinite number of ways to Express this simple intention with your voice, and UX designers should be very careful to ask the right questions that users will be able to give any verbal response.
As soon as voice interaction will be familiar to the majority of users, designers will face the need to maintain their interest. As can be seen from the above example, while voice communication with a lot of different formulations, even for a clear binary choice. But this variability provides excellent opportunities for us to engage users.
The pleasure center is called the part of the human brain, which aktiviziruyutsya when we passionately want something. Any unpredictability stimulates this center. We become very careful when you cant guess what happens next — this partly explains the gambling addiction, as well as the success of the series “AA” from Netflix.
Many advanced visual UX designers actively using this neurological feature and it also comes in handy when we start talking to our devices. Variability of interaction with artificial intelligence is the key to its humanizing, precisely because of this, users sometimes attribute AI mood, and even personality. Speaking about the variety of potential responses, it is necessary to pay special attention to the creation of meaningful error messages because they must return to the stalled dialogue in the right direction and it does not irritate the user.
We quickly lose interest in the conversation, if mechanical voice will chant. “Excuse me, I have not yet found this information.”. Regardless of the content mentioned, any voice tells the listener a huge amount of meta-information — so brands are so fond of using voice Wednesday to expand its influence. Gender, age, intonation, timbre, accent, rhythm and tempo — UX designers can use these elements to tie in user experience with your brand.
Virgin America, the airline communicates with its passengers on of correct English, a pleasant voice intriguing — and clearly associated with it. But The New York Times prefers to use for its ads more manly and confident voice. At Disneyland, your child will be able to speak with Mickey mouse.
And Apple has found its new operating system incredibly attractive and at the same time soothing voice (Scarlett Johansson from the movie “her”). However, some brands allow users to choose the voice with which they will interact. This leads to philosophical speculation about who really runs the brand. Who defines it.
Company or user perception?. We believe that VX-designer will be somewhere between the producer and the engineer, corrective synthetic voice in search of those that will better engage users. Celebrity, in turn, will have the opportunity to Express themselves not only through voice but also as a person in the role of the AI assistant.
You think its ridiculous that sounds. But you have to pay $10 to your GPS Navigator spoke with the voice of Snoop Dogg. One of the advantages of visual interfaces on voice remains the possibility to offer the user a set of hierarchically ordered options as an example page with search results or a regular price.
In an age when any needs are met almost instantly, its hard to imagine the average user, who listens patiently as his AI assistant lists the Laundry or read a list of restaurants within walking distance. This is a classic example of the new environment in which old habits only limit. You havent printed your email messages before they send — although it adds reliability, but does not correspond to todays needs.
A more viable approach consists in pre-compiling and ranking information based on user preferences. Usually this is what people are doing, talking to each other: Hey, Jason, where is possible to eat sushi?. In the area a few sushi restaurants, you want to walk or go by car?. ? Today is a good day, I would have walked.
? Okay, two minutes walk from Emperor Sushi, but if you want something cheaper — in five minutes there are Ninja Sushi Deli. Thank you, Ill know. Go to Emperor Sushi! In this case, user-oriented assistant asks relevant clarifying questions (How far are you willing to walk.
How much money you want to spend?), thereby narrowing the list of the best options before recommending it. Such branching dialogues are a wide range of applications. Hospital employees and hotel concierges could leave an uncomfortable tablet and start to communicate with devices that are able to recognize the voice. It would be nice if your hotel room has been implemented with a voice interface each response is programmed with the latest achievements and advanced experience in the hospitality industry.
You should also consider the issues related to the availability of voice interaction for people with hearing loss, speech problems or simply lost her voice due to illness. For this category of voice user interface was extremely important long before it became mainstream. “If able-bodied people voice technologies are merely an added convenience for people with disabilities is the greatest gift — the opportunity to become independent,” writes Steve Spon.
Just imagine what a huge impact UX designers on the quality of life of people with impaired motor functions, because for them it is literally a matter of life and death. People with disabilities in the voice interaction is likely to be missed by the simplicity and intuitiveness. Therefore, a major challenge for designers may be to create a hybrid configuration that includes both audio and visual scenarios of this category of users.
In particular, very useful chat bots. Speaking about the voice environment, not to mention issues of personal safety, because we will have to face completely new risks and vulnerabilities. Most modern voice-driven devices for the convenience of users, automatically remember and keep their account, but its a double-edged sword.
At one point, a courier will deliver you a package of Goodies worth $100, and then you will understand why your six year old son is hiding from you. Voice easy to fake, writing as you speak aloud the password and to edit, in order to synthesize commands, which you never gave. Push voice further interaction is impossible without solving problems related to privacy.
Voice interaction is a huge leap forward in UX-design, and in 2017 we will meet with many new physical and software products. In the voice environment it is impossible to rely on the paradigm of visual UX design. So designers now have to start working on this still crude technology. Their first action can be a thorough reconciliation of the dictionary voice interfaces and work on a clear understanding of the intentions of the users at each step of the conversation.
With the development of voice interfaces the designers will face the challenge of engaging users with branded AI-assistants. And if at first it will only go on to deliberate the responses of assistant, then eventually they will have to work to create holistic images closely associated with a particular brand. What is described in this article represents a serious challenge for UX designers.
This is probably the biggest challenge since 2007, when Steve jobs held his legendary presentation “One Last Thing”, giving rise to innovative changes in the web design. Voice interaction is not yet very popular, but it grows, multiplies and often completely replaces the UX visual design, becoming the new standard UI. For many years the limitations of our technology forced us to create interfaces in two-dimensional space.
Today we go into the third dimension. And design of voice interfaces can be the catalyst that will help us to return to the original purpose of UX is to communicate with people in a humane way. Send your speakers and front-end cases [email protected]