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Designing for Voice


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Presented at FITC Toronto 2017
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Mitch Seguin, Tribalscale

As voice user interfaces (VUIs) continue to emerge as a dominant new user interface, designers are experimenting with voice interaction over the traditional screen based UI. At TribalScale, they’ve seen quick success in the space building on Amazon Alexa and Google Home for brands like the PGA Tour, CBC, and Nascar. Mitch Seguin, head of product and design at TribalScale will walk you through what a VUI is and how to rethink the UI for a non-visual medium. Mitch will discuss learnings in this transition from traditional user interface to conversational interaction and demo some VUI work throughout.


To expose the audience to a new world of UIs in the conversational, voice controlled era.

Target Audience

Designers interested in experimenting with emerging UIs.

Five Things Audience Members Will Learn

What is a voice user interface
Emerging VUI platforms and how they differ
How designing for VUIs differs from traditional interfaces
How conversational interfaces create a more human experience
What the future of the UI could look like

Published in: Internet
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Designing for Voice

  1. 1. Designing for Voice The Next Generation of User Interfaces
  2. 2. API Proliferation1 The hardware is here and cheap (far-field voice input processing (FFVIP) ) 2 The science is ready for prime time 1. Natural language understanding 2. Automatic speech recognition 3. Text to speech 3 Why does it feel like conversational UI’s are exploding? The popularity of VUIs ML is making conversation easier4
  3. 3. Voice Platforms The popularity of VUIs Virtual Assistants Amazon Alexa Google Home Chatbots
  4. 4. My Favorite Skills
  5. 5. A Primer on Voice
  6. 6. Basic Mechanics and Architecture
  7. 7. Syntax ● Skill ○ When writing an app, or “skill” for the Amazon Echo, you have to provide examples of how your users might phrase their requests. ● Intent ○ Your app for the Amazon Echo is going to have one or more capabilities or features. In the nomenclature of the Amazon Skills Kit. ● Utterance ○ A spoken phrase that activates an Intent is called an Utterance, and there may be many valid Utterances that you will want to accept for each of your app’s Intents. ● Ask and Tell ○ Invoking a skill with specific intent. ○ Invocation name and request provided in a supported phrase with “ask”, “tell”, and other phrases.
  8. 8. Our Journey with Voice
  9. 9. Botler
  10. 10. My Fridge
  11. 11. Early Adoption of VUIs
  12. 12. What We’ve Learned
  13. 13. No UI People are unpredictable Conversation is complex Designing For Voice is Hard
  14. 14. Grice’s maxims Threading Implied Context Designing For Cooperative Conversation Repair Acknowledgements and Confirmation
  15. 15. Tales From the Trenches
  16. 16. Tales From the Trenches Anticipate incomplete information Be helpful! Acknowledge and confirm strategically
  17. 17. Find a subject matter expert Take a systematic approach Always be testing! Tales From the Trenches
  18. 18. Respect the user The right use case Basic Best Practices This isn’t english class The right persona VUI ≠ GUI Build the conversation
  19. 19. Offer a focused experience Do’s and Don’ts Validate your experience & utterances Stay Cooperative Repair the conversation Use acknowledgements and confirmation appropriately Have Personality! Translate touch to voice Be rude Lose context of the conversation Turn people into robots
  20. 20. THANK YOU! Goodbye. Address: 48 Yonge Street | Toronto, ON Canada Email: Website: Twitter: @tribalscale
  21. 21. Good Interaction Bad Interaction Interaction Examples