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Siri 2.0: How to build a great voice interface system


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Best practices on how to make a great interactive voice system, form UX Architect Joseph Dickerson. More at

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Siri 2.0: How to build a great voice interface system

  1. 1. Want to design Siri 2.0? How to create a great voice interface system Joseph Dickerson
  2. 2. Introduction• One of my first jobs in UX was designing an interactive voice response system for my companys customer support number.• It was challenging... • We had to understand the mental model of callers, what their priority needs would be in most situations, how much "information" callers could keep in his or
  3. 3. Introduction• Now, however, designers have an even greater challenge - how to design an “intelligent voice response system, like Apples Siri• Ive been thinking a while about some "best practices" that can be applied to such interactions... • So heres my thoughts on how to make a great voice interface system
  4. 4. Be conversational• Respond in a way that is personal and polite, not monotonous or robotic• Just because its a computer doesnt mean it needs to be a computerized voice• Be friendly, but...
  5. 5. Dont get too personal• Avoid words or phrases that are overly critical or praising... It can come off as cloying and phony• While a different domain than voice interaction, I once evaluated an ATM UI that used phrases that were completely informal • It was off-putting and inappropriate
  6. 6. Recover gracefully• When mistakes are made, learn from them• Apologize, and remember - design a learning system • This is easier said than done, but its important
  7. 7. Respond quickly• Latency is DEATH to a voice control system • The user is expecting the response immediately • Every time the system responds with "thinking" is a moment where the users confidence is reduced
  8. 8. Be ready for ANYTHING• Build out response "trees" that account for any eventuality • Be thorough• Defaulting to a web search is not a positive outcome• Aim for a complete solution, and deliver it... • And users will use the system with great confidence
  9. 9. Be reliable• A voice response system that doesnt respond... well, thats not a very good thing, is it?• Make sure that the system is like the dial tone should be when you pick up the phone • Always on, always ready
  10. 10. Provide alternate inputs, but use voice first• One of the things that Siri does badly is when users has to confirm something • Most of the time the user has to click a "yes" or "OK" button.• Why? • Youre already talking to the device, the device should KEEP LISTENING
  11. 11. Avoid doing HAL 9000 jokes• I know its tempting, but its played out...• But DO pay attention to how movies like Moon, 2001, and Star Trek presents voice control systems • That is the "training" that all of us have had• Understanding the expectations that users have of these systems can help you design them better
  12. 12. Get out of the way whenever possible• Interacting with a voice system is cool now, but in the future it will become as normal as driving a car or watching TV • Once the novelty wears off, people will be more results and outcome-focused... • So dont be cute• Provide an interactive experience that obeys commands and gets out of the way, with no editorialization
  13. 13. Closing• I have always said that we are living in the future, it just wasnt the future we were expecting • The fact that we can seriously discuss best practices in designing voice responses systems like Siri reinforces that point• The future has arrived
  14. 14. @josephdickerson