Voice user interface: why you should offer it
The rapid spread of the voice interface in digital systems for individual use poses a huge number of complex questions and problems for web designers. It is obvious that shortly, voice interaction will become a real alternative to traditional visual interfaces, and in some ways even replace them completely.
Digital transformation will soon be in almost every aspect of our lives. As soon as consumers start talking with products, manufacturers will have to learn to meet user expectations by designing all the intricacies of voice interaction in advance. That is, to do all that they are doing now concerning the visual interface.
Studies on voice interface technology show that around %41 of people who use voice assistant speakers feel like they are interacting with an actual person. Alexa is a voice user interface example. In other words, voice interface technology has revolutionized human and machine interaction.
- What are voice technologies and interfaces
- The popularity of VUI
- Smart websites
- Market research
- Design stage selection
- Maintain Engagement
- Additional visual cues
- Creating a “brand voice”
- Ensure accessibility and privacy
- Designing company
What are voice technologies and interfaces
But what is a voice interface and how can it be beneficial? The voice interface is a software product that, using a voice or speech platform, allows the user and the computer to interact, starting automated processes. The task of such interfaces is to recognize and generate a person’s voice. By using a voice user interface you can interact with a device of your choice through voice commands. Voice interface technology makes it possible for users to keep their eye off the screen but still be able to manage their needs by using voice commands.
Voice interfaces are convenient when entering text is difficult or inconvenient. One of the good voice user interface examples is while driving a car, the user can speak his request, dictate the desired address, check traffic jams in the navigator application. Or if the user performs too many tasks and cannot concentrate on one.
What is a voice-based user interface?
To answer this question let’s have a quick look into what the user interface is and what are some common types of the user interface.
The user interface is how human users interact with websites, applications, or computers. The purpose of an effective user interface is to make the user experience simple and intuitive, requiring the least effort from the user to achieve the best desired result.
The user interface is created through layers of interaction matching to human senses such as touch, sight, and auditory. In the user interface both input and output devices are used and devices that contain multiple senses are called multimedia user interfaces.
User interface should offer the following qualities:
- Being easy to use
- The speed of information input through the user interface
- How fast users can interact with the information they receive
Here are some important types of user interfaces:
CLI or The command-line interface processes the commands of a computer program in the form of lines of text. These interfaces aren’t generally intuitive and have significant learning processes. But as soon as users learn how to interact with them they become powerful tools that are automatable through scripting. As useful and effective as these interfaces are they can also be difficult to learn.
Graphical user interface or WIMP (windows, icons, menus, and pointers) is a type of interface that uses a pointer item for interaction on the screen. Most of the modern user interfaces support some form of GUI. The basic way of using a graphical user interface is by clicking the mouse. In that case, when you learn to work with a GUI the rest comes easy for you.
It is difficult to write scripts and automate graphical user interfaces. Using a mouse is not a very precise option and the ergonomy of one keeps you from using it for long periods. Graphical user interfaces aren’t the best option for an efficient user interface.
A menu-based interface is a graphical user interface that consists of a series of screens through which the user navigates by selecting options from a list. Due to the simplicity of menu-driven UIs, they are often used in walk-ins such as ATMs. Every screen has a simple question or function and a way of interaction. Menu-driven interfaces are easy to use but not very effective.
voice user interface
So now we can answer the question of what is voice interface? Voice user interface or VUI is a type of user interface that uses speech and audibility. A good voice user interface example is voice assistant UI and smart speakers such as Siri and Alexa.
Voice user interface technology uses voice recognition natural language understanding technologies to convert the user’s voice into text and meaning. Zilla talk wireless is a tool that improves the traditional touch user interface. The voice user interface is very intuitive because they use our most natural communication method: voice. They are much faster than writing information but much slower than reading or viewing information when information is sent from a computer system to the user.
There are three important characteristics that voice interfaces should have:
- natural language
- unlimited vocabulary and grammar
Types of voice user interface
Smart speakers and voice assistants brought user voice user interface to many users, however, the voice user interface is not particularly innovative. The first voice interface invented is IVR or Interactive Voice Response. IVR is a system that allows users to interact with a phone system via speech. IVR can only recognize numbers, but they are still the first voice user interfaces.
Another type of voice user interface is smart speakers and voice assistants that recognize various natural languages. They are general-purpose digital aids that mainly use speech as the user’s output method.
VCD or voice command devices as the name defines can be controlled by simple voice commands. VCD typically understands around a dozen commands.
The next type of VUI is a multimodal user interface, which can adopt various human-computer interaction methods including sound, touch, etc. These user interfaces are not for general use but are designed for specific applications and used in that context. Voice commands can be used for all or some user tasks in these types of applications.
What does the voice user interface allow you to do?
As we mentioned earlier voice interface technology enables users to have interaction with a system through voice commands and voice recognition. Virtual assistants like Siri, Alexa, and google assistant are voice user interface examples.
The main benefit of the voice user interface is that users can have hands-free and eyeless interaction with the product and have their main focus somewhere else. Every technology even the voice interface technology has its own advantages and disadvantages, let’s go over the pros and cons of voice-activated interfaces:
Advantages and disadvantages of voice interface
The most visible advantage of VUI is being easy to use. The ease of use makes it possible for a wide range of users such as elderly users and people with Physical Impairment to speak their requests to voice assistants.
Another advantage of the voice user interface is that it’s faster than typing which makes it more convenient for users.
Voice user interfaces also provide you eyes-free and hands-free services. This way you can stay on schedule while driving or cooking. This way you can keep your eye on the road and use google maps to avoid getting lost or getting lost.
Using this interface helps users to improve their voice recognition skills as well. Since a lot of companies are deciding to include speech recognition into their operations, having a voice interface device at home helps you gain experience with UI helps you get through the job that requires this skill or you have to face a robotic interviewer.
Some users have concerns about the privacy of voice user interfaces and the possible violations.
Another issue of voice interfaces is the Misinterpretation and the lack of accuracy. Since the software of the voice interface can’t understand the context of language there could be some errors. Since the voice dictation for typing isn’t always recognizable for the software there could be mistyping.
Another concern that users shared is the matter of public use. It’s not always easy to give voice commands to the voice-activated interface or voice assistant UI because of the noises and privacy of other people.
Some people get distracted by the voice assistant when they’re multitasking. Another disadvantage of voice user interfaces is the price, especially smart home devices that are run by voice assistant UI and use a lot of electricity and without the electricity, you can’t use them.
User interface VS user experience
User interface and user experience are related and are equally important to the result of the projects But they do have their differences. In simple words, the user interface is designed around the expected appearance of a website, application, or program, while the user experience covers the entire process of conceptualization, development, and delivery. UX can be associated with almost any product, while the UI can only be associated with digital products.
Let’s have a look into the main differences between UI and UX:
- The UX focuses on the purpose and functionality of the product, while the UI focuses on the quality of the interaction between the user and the product.
- Whereas UX contains components such as market research and identification of user needs, UI has components of artistic design regarding the appearance of the user’s experience.
- The main focus of the UX is on project management from the idea to development but UI mainly focuses on the design of the finished product.
User experience design begins with identifying the target user’s complaints and figuring out how to meet that user’s needs. It contains detailed information such as the logical flow and steps to reach your goals. When the interface is conveniently programmed, the prototype is sent to the user interface designer, creating a visually appealing process.
The development of user interactions includes:
- The appearance of the website/application /program
- Reactive Adaptation
- Interacting animation
The popularity of VUI
Reasons for the popularity of the voice user interface (VUI) are the ability of brands to create a more personal connection with their customers using their dedicated application or website. For example, a virtual voice assistant can use vocabulary or a type of humor that matches the temper, age, and values of the target market to provide results that more closely match the user’s desire. For example, when children ask Alexa about dinosaurs, they get results that are no more suitable for the paleontologist, but appropriate for their age.
Today, systems like Siri and Alexa can respond to comments with ridiculous answers or ridicule, and they are pretty knowledgeable when it comes to memes, pop links, new personalities, and TV shows.
Changes in the processing of natural language paved the way for a new revolution in our interaction with technology and now people increasingly prefer voice to the screen.
The future of voice interface technology
The voice user interface still has a long way to go and is already accepted around the globe. Companies in many industries are exploring the possibilities while exploring ways to use voice interfaces. interest and adoption of audio technology are increasing noticeably
There has been much debate about whether voice technology is the future or not. Voice technology is absolutely part of the future just like virtual reality and augmented reality, there is plenty of market space for voice interface technology to grow. Voice technology will evolve in amazing ways to meet market needs, solve user problems, and expand our understanding of what voice can do.
Today’s voice assistants still lack the basic conversation base that provides a smooth, personalized experience. We use strange words, commands, and unusual vocabulary when used in real human conversations. Talking to (VUI Voice User Interface) is still different from talking to people. Many can argue that this isn’t necessary but let’s think about the many future improvements we can make about voice technology.
As VUI evolves and evolves, you can expect more of these anticipatory features to appear and make your interaction with VUI feel more natural. UX designers have the power to influence new technologies and create a complete user-centric voice user interface in the early stages.
We are at the early stage of learning VUI and voice assistant discovery, and these are common issues when it comes to new technologies. However, we are cautiously optimistic about the future of sound and believe in continuing. VUI has the potential to solve problems and make our lives easier in a variety of ways to speed up data entry.
In 2020, website design needs a balance between the various technologies that together add website functionality and visual appeal. Its development using the voice interface will allow your customers to expand their customer base, being an important part of their branding strategy.
Offering this option can be difficult if your design team works exclusively with a graphical user interface. Also, your customers may not have an idea of what the interface offers. That is why at the design stage it is very important to identify clear indications of possible interaction options. Internet users browsing your client’s website should be aware of the functionality they use and have recommendations on how to find what they are looking for using only voice search.
Today, voice is the culmination of intuitive interfaces designed to democratize technology. Each advance along this path was dictated by the need to increase the speed and efficiency of devices, as well as to make interaction with them as simple and affordable as possible for as many people as possible.
Website designers may find it difficult to get a complete list of questions that brands or customers can ask their voice devices. Successful VUI training requires a deep understanding of the spoken language, as well as a deep understanding of the user’s expectations.
To create a complete product, you will need to conduct analytics and market research to understand the language used by consumers in various geographical and demographic areas, as well as their frequently asked questions that they may possibly ask. Although users do not expect genuine “two-way communication” from your voice option, they expect practical, useful, and interesting experience with your client’s VUI, which deserves frequent use.
Design stage selection
You may decide to simply add the voice user interface function to your existing UX user interface. Such new features reduce implementation, development, and work well with current graphical interfaces. However, the customer may want you to develop a product based solely on voice communications. This will mean a complete modernization, which will be devoid of visual cues.
A specialized VUI designer incorporates contextual knowledge into his design, although it is impossible to capture all the possible hints and context. Communication disruptions can be avoided by asking users what they need, as the system understands. Answers should be simple, using plain English, without slang. This feature will allow designers to identify common, specific needs and analyze how consumers make them at a linguistic level.
How to design a voice user interface?
To have an efficient voice interface design, voice user interface designers and developers need to have an understanding of the complexity of human communication. Consumers expect voice assistants and smart devices to be functional, conversational and have fewer misinterpretations in their daily interactions.
A voice user interface designer needs the same set of skills as a visual designer. Designing a voice user interface isn’t so different from designing a GUI or other UX projects.
The interaction between humans and computers is centered around user research, rapid prototyping, and testing regularly. Voice user interfaces are a new and exciting way to transmit information. The design process is almost the same, but there are a few twists.
The first step of designing a voice user interface is to start user research. In this step, you need to learn about the interaction between the users and assistants and you can do that by customer journey mapping.
User research makes it possible for you to observe user’s behaviors and needs in various engagement stages. Try to include the voice in the customer journey map to understand where it can be used as an interaction method.
If you’re creating your customer journey map and it hasn’t been created before, the voice interface designer should specify the location of the user impact of the voice. This specifying can be highlighting or channeling the voice. But if the customer journey map already exists, the designer should check to see if there is room for improvements in the user flow and how the voice affects it. The designer needs to solve the user’s problems.
Analyze the competition
When the voice interface designer analyzes the competition companies the main thing to focus on is how the competition has implemented their VUI.
There are three things to check after doing a VUI competitors analysis:
- application scenarios: what is the use case of the competitors app?
- What are their current and planned voice commands?
- How are their users responding? What are the reviews on their VUI and what can you do better?
Needs and requirements
After analyzing and researching the users, you need to find out what do users need? What are their issues and problems? To answer these questions in a more efficient way you can start user testing.
In these testings, you can have your VUI observed from multiple different perspectives, write down every user’s scenario and requirements and turn them into conversation flows.
The next step is to start prototyping your VUIs conversations with the dialogue flows that are showing the interaction between your users and the device.
Prototyping a VUI
There are some key points that you have to consider when prototyping your voice user interface:
- You need to keep a simplistic and conversational interaction
- Strongly consider confirmation messages when a task is completed
- Have a sensitive error strategy
- Since users have doubts about voice user interface privacy we recommend having an extra layer of security for your VUIs
Creating a dialogue flow for conversations between users and VUI is one of the most important tasks of the voice user interface designer since it’s going to guide the users. Your dialogue flow should contain the following:
- Keywords for starting the interaction with the VUI, such as hey Siri or hello Alexa
- Branches that specify where the interaction could lead
- VUI designer needs to create sample conversations between the voice assistant UI and users
Some prototyping applications are created to simplify the dialogue flows since it’s like prototyping and the script is for the entire interaction. Here are some of these applications:
- Dialogflow: this application is owned by Google and it’s for designing an interacting voice user interface for mobile apps, web apps, bots, and devices.
- Speechly: A speech-language understanding solution for building a voice user interface.
- Voiceflow: it’s a collaboration tool for designing and prototyping
Testing the voice user interface
In this step VUI designer, tests the dialogue flow between multiple users and the voice user interface like the actual result.
Someone starts the device and another person keeps track of how the conversation flows between the user and system.
Voice commands anatomy
A voice user interface designer needs to consider every possible interaction or conversation that’s going to happen between the user and system and constantly upgrade the dialogue flow through the testing process. They need to consider every scenario and what’s the user’s achievement of it? Users use voice commands to interact with VUI and these voice commands contain three core factors: intent, utterance, and slot.
The intent is the purpose of the user’s voice commands. The intent of a voice command can either be low utility interaction or a high utility interaction.
High utility interactions represent very specific commands like requesting a specific song genre or turning off the lights
But a low utility interaction performs a task that is difficult to decipher. For example, if a user requests more information about an item, the voice UI may check whether the item is within the scope of its service and ask additional questions to understand the need and respond more appropriately.
The utterance is the way of phrasing the command by the user so that the device gets activated.
Some of the request phrases are simple and easy to understand, like “Play music on Spotify”, but voice UX designers need to consider the other ways of phrasing that might occur like a user could say “I want to listen to music…” or “Can you play…” instead of “Play…”.
The more variations the designer considers, the better the AI will understand the requirements and respond with the appropriate action.
A slot is a required or optional variable required by the user to operate. For instance, if a user’s voice command is for calming music, the variable here is calming. This slot is optional as the AI can fulfill the request without any variables. But, for example, if the user wants to make a reservation for a restaurant, the slot needs information.
As soon as voice interaction becomes familiar to the bulk of users, designers will face the need to maintain their interest. As you can see from the above example, with voice communication, there are a lot of very different formulations, even for a clear binary choice. But it is this variation that provides web designers with great opportunities to engage users.
The center of pleasure is the part of the human brain that activates when we passionately want something. Any unpredictability stimulates this center perfectly. We become extremely careful when we cannot guess what will happen next – this partly explains the dependence on gambling, as well as the success of the OA series from Netflix.
Many advanced visual UX designers are actively using this neurological feature, and it will come in handy when we start talking with our devices. The variability of interaction with artificial intelligence is the key to its humanization, because of this, users sometimes attribute AI mood and even personality.
Speaking about the variety of potential answers, you need to pay special attention to the creation of meaningful error messages – because they should return the dialogue that has reached a dead end in the right direction and at the same time not annoy the user.
You must also ensure that users are not bogged down in the information. For example, sometimes your customer wants to provide their customers with different product options when asked a question. Your VUI system should not offer more than 2-3 units at a time, although a voice may ask users if they need more options. Otherwise, cognitive overload can lead to consumer inaction.
People will quickly lose interest in communication if a mechanical voice repeats monotonously: “Sorry, I haven’t found this information yet.”
Additional visual cues
With its help, consumers will enjoy a more dynamic experience and not get bored. Different forms of attention-grabbing like lights will let the user know that VUI is trying to find a way to fulfill their requests and is still listening to them.
Creating a “brand voice”
Regardless of the content of what was said, any voice tells the listener a huge amount of meta-information – which is why brands are so fond of using the voice environment to expand their impact. Gender, age, intonation, timbre, accent, rhythm, and pace – UX designers can use all of these elements to connect user experience with their client’s business.
Virgin America communicates with its passengers in the correct English, in a pleasant, intriguing voice – and clearly associated with it. But The New York Times prefers to use a more courageous and confident voice for its ads.
At Disneyland, your child will be able to talk with Mickey Mouse. And Apple found an insanely attractive and at the same time soothing voice for its new operating system (Scarlett Johansson from the movie “She”).
Ensure accessibility and privacy
You should also consider issues related to the availability of voice interaction for people with hearing loss, problems with speech, or simply who have lost their voice due to illness. For this category of users, the voice interface was extremely important long before it became popular.
According to Steve Spon, if voice-activated technologies are only an additional convenience for able-bodied people, then for disabled people this is the greatest gift – the opportunity to become independent.
People with disabilities in voice interaction are likely to lack intuitiveness and simplicity. Therefore, a serious challenge for designers can be the creation of a hybrid configuration that includes both audio and visual scripts for these categories of users. In particular, chatbots are very useful.
Speaking about the voice environment, one cannot but mention personal security issues, because we will have to face completely new risks and vulnerabilities.
Most modern voice-controlled devices, for the convenience of users, automatically memorize and store their accounts. However, sometimes this may not be in favor. Especially if one fine day the courier delivers you a package of sweets worth $ 100, and then you will understand why your six-year-old son is hiding his eyes from you.
It’s easy to fake a voice by recording how you pronounce the password out loud and also edit it to subsequently combine words into commands that you never gave. Moving your voice experience further is impossible without resolving privacy issues.
An application or website development has many stages. One of the most important parts of the development is to design it. Designing determines what a user sees and how to interact with the app or website.
Dewzilla is not just a designing company. We can make an app or a website from scratch for you. But designing is one of our most crucial professions.
The advent of the voice interface is radically changing the approach to UX development – just like the advent of touchscreen smartphones once turned the way to web design. As voice interfaces evolve, designers will face the challenge of engaging users with branded AI assistants. And if at first, we will only talk about the thoughtful answers of the assistant, then over time they will have to work on creating holistic images that are closely related to a particular brand.
The voice user interface function continues to gain popularity. It grows, multiplies, and often completely replaces the visual UX design, turning into a new standard user interface.
We hope this article was useful and interesting for you. Stay tuned!
What do people ask their Voice User Interface?
Why are user interfaces important?
users interact with the Web site they use by the interfaces at this point so UI is an important part of building an attractive and well-engaged website.