What should be the design in the era of voice UI

 The world of web design is incredibly dynamic. Every year there are new trends and opportunities, primarily due to the advent of modern technologies.

In recent years, we have seen how web design has changed with the advent of AR and VRThe quality of video content has improved, and the need for inclusiveness and usability has fundamentally changed how websites and apps are built.

Regardless, for the most part, web design trends are still focused on visuals.

When we hear the word "interface", the first thing that comes to mind is the familiar graphical user interface. After all, it is considered the best way to connect users with sites. 

However, we now have a new, more organic way for users to interact with their digital tools. The age of the voice has arrived.

1. What should be the user interface in the era of voice

The technology sector has made incredible strides in developing things like automatic voice recognition and speech comprehension.

With improvements in automatic processing and understanding of human speech, voice recognition accuracy is now 90% or better. 

Users can talk to a smart assistant, speaker, or phone app and get the results they want without error. Many people can no longer imagine their lives without this opportunity.

Making it easier to interact with technology through voice is driving users to use these technologies at an incredible pace. It is predicted that by the end of this year, half of all searches will be carried out using voice control.

We are on the cusp of a fundamental shift in the way we interact with computers and critical tools. Therefore, it is important for designers and developers to integrate into this new environment.

Here are some aspects designers need to consider when designing a voice user interface.

2. Decide on an area to experiment first

To make the site more "conversational", you need to follow a few steps. First of all, the designer or developer must decide which voice interactions will be used for the application or site.

For example, instead of embedding voice technology into a site, you can create something separate. So, for example, Amazon did it by developing Alexa “Skill” for devices like the Echo. Companies like Capital One have already invested in this technology.

 Soon, their users will be able to ask their smart speaker about their account balance instead of opening their laptop and going to a website.

To determine what kind of voice experience you should create for your customer, follow them with a consumer journey map. 

If you use an interactive map to track your users, you will be able to correctly identify areas where voice interactions will fit in perfectly.

For example, if customers constantly ask questions about a brand or its services, a page equipped with an FAQ bot, where the user can get voice answers to their queries, will be a great choice.

UI design is about problem-solving. Learning about the challenges and frustrations that end users face during their journey will help you decide which direction to take in voice UI development.

3. Learn the anatomy of voice commands

Before a designer can start creating a dialog flow for a voice UI, he needs to understand how voice commands work. The key to success in voice design is understanding the purpose of the interaction. Voice UI consists of three major components that must be considered when developing:

  • Intention. The intent represents the subject and context of the voice command. Interaction with high utility implies a request to perform a specific task. For example, your users may request that the application provide them with a list of five-star hotels in a particular area. Designing for such queries is easy enough because you understand what the voice algorithm is supposed to do. However, queries with a low level of utility are harder to decipher. For example, the phrase “hotels near me” can be confusing because the bot has fewer specifics to work with.
  • Statement. This concept refers to how the user pronounces the command. For example, in the case of searching for five-star hotels in Amsterdam, the client might say “show me the hotels” or ask for “places to stay”. To design a successful UI, designers must consider every possible variation of voice commands.
  • optional variables. This item refers to additional filters that your voice interface needs to be aware of. In the case of five-star hotels in Amsterdam, the five-star descriptor is optional. The optional input should overwrite the defaults and provide more detailed search information.

SideChef, for example, is a voice recipe app that offers narrative instructions to users and allows them to search for recipes to suit their specific needs. The app comes with a wide range of built-in variables allowing users to customize searches according to descriptors such as "vegetarian" or "fast" food.

How to Prototype Voice UI

Learning how to use a complex UI strategy like voice UI takes time and practice. Prototype designers have to take on the role of the screenwriter. 

They need to design a lot of dialogues according to the different needs of the clients and the many interactions they might encounter.

The dialog threads will indicate:

  • Keywords that lead to interaction;
  • Branches of the dialogue, symbolizing the development of the conversation; • Examples of dialogs for the user and the voice assistant.

Designing conversational flows with scenarios that illustrate the exchange of views between a voice assistant and a user will help designers and developers understand the various nuances that can arise when a client interacts with a robot.

Remember that in addition to maintaining conversational and direct communication, you need to ensure that there is a conversational flow for every discussion. This is an important part of good voice UI design.

 It is necessary to take into account all conversational situations that may occur between end users and their applications, sites, or digital toolsUsers don't need all the information available, it's more important to make them feel like the voice UI is doing its job.

Take the voice game RuneScape: One Piercing Note for example.

This application allows players to talk to other game characters and use commands such as "pull the lever" or "open the chest". When designing the components of the game, the designers needed to think through all the possible interactions that the player might experience. Next, they needed to link those interactions to a story and ensure that users didn't go astray.

Some tips for voice interface designers

Designing a voice interface can be very time-consuming, especially if you've never created anything using voice as the only input. However, once you get used to creating conversational threads, the process doesn't seem so difficult anymore.

When developing, do not forget:

  • Always confirm the completion of the taskIn the checkout design of any e-commerce page, one of the most important screens for a designer is the confirmation page. Confirming the successful completion of the transaction will not let the client worry about whether he did the right thing. The same concept applies to voice interface design. For example, if a user asks a speech input app to book an appointment with a therapist, they want to know that the appointment was successfully booked and added to the clinic's schedule. Decide how you're going to provide the peace of mind your customers need.
  • Build a solid error handling strategy. Designers and developers are still in the very early stages of experimenting with voice user interfaces. This means that there is a good chance that something can go wrong with your applications and tools from time to time. It is extremely important to have a clear strategy in case errors occur. Always design a dialogue script that will allow the helper to respond if he doesn't understand the request or hears nothing at all. You can also conduct analytics on such situations to identify misinterpretations and improve usability in the future.
  • Add extra layers of security. Various UI solutions such as Google Assistant and Alexa can now recognize voices. This is a kind of biometric security similar to Face ID or Touch ID. As voice recognition continues to improve, it's important to apply advanced security measures. Some companies may require additional authentication. For example, passwords, facial recognition, or fingerprints may be required to carry out activities such as payments and transactions. For example, Duer's voice assistant uses facial recognition to both confirm payments and make nutritional recommendations based on previous purchases.
Are you ready to revolutionize the design world?

Voice user interfaces will never leave our lives.

It is likely that in the coming years, developers and designers will need to learn how to use voice more consistently as part of their UI strategies.

While the voice as a design tool takes a little getting used to, the good news is that it's not that hard to figure out which direction to go in. Like any design, voice UI requires you to test and tweak. It is critical to ensure that the interactions and experiences you deliver to end users are smooth, efficient, and valuable.

First of all, the success of voice design is measured only by the presence of speech capabilities, so it is important to focus your efforts on how to make the user's life easier with the help of voice.

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