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Ben Sauer - Principles of Voice Design

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Presented at UX Brighton 2019, 1st November 2019

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Ben Sauer - Principles of Voice Design

  1. 1. PRINCIPLES OF 
 VOICE DESIGN @bensauer DIRECTOR OF PRODUCT @ BABYLON HEALTH
 UX BRIGHTON 2019 DESIGNING FOR A TALKATIVE FUTURE
  2. 2. ARISTOTLE There is only one condition in which we can imagine managers not needing subordinates, and masters not needing slaves. This condition would be that each instrument could do its own work, at the word of command or by intelligent anticipation. @bensauer
  3. 3. Curious Rituals produced by The Near Future Laboratory
  4. 4. Curious Rituals produced by The Near Future Laboratory
  5. 5. Our true calling is to make 
 the system fail gracefully.
  6. 6. FINDING THE 
 USE CASE
  7. 7. @bensauer THE THREE CASES FOR CONVERSATION Consumer channels Augment CX in an existing channel, e.g. KLM on Messenger, increase accessibility In-app conversation Solve for edge cases, and design for ease e.g. touch-free, multimedia Dedicated to conversation Works best as a conversational app
 e.g. Woebot, ‘Would You Rather?’
  8. 8. ON SCREEN, HOW SHOULD PEOPLE 
 TELL US WHAT THEY WANT? Frequency
 and Volume Breadth High frequency, common journeys: best served by navigation + GUI Low frequency, diverse journeys: best served by free text / search / chat * * unless it’s a dedicated chat app
  9. 9. IN VOICE, THE OPPOSITE Frequency 
 and Volume Breadth Focus on frequent, short interactions Platforms only 
 (for now)
  10. 10. GENERATIVE TOOLS
  11. 11. OPPORTUNITY LENSES User research Brand / creative FutureCustomer service
  12. 12. In the kitchen, getting ready to go to work Driving to a friend’s house C ON TEXT Food Appointments S UBJECT Alexa, what ingredients should I buy for dinner later? TASK Alexa, what’s happening next weekend? Alexa, Is my dry cleaning ready for pickup? USE-CASE IDEA WORKSHOP @bensauer Swap these around to generate ideas
  13. 13. EVALUATIVE TOOLS
  14. 14. CONTEXT RULES @bensauer
  15. 15. @bensauer STORYBOARDING @bensauer Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/rd/blog/2017-06-voice-ui-user-interface-children-drama
  16. 16. @bensauer CONTEXT QUESTIONS • What is the context of use? • Where is the user? • What's happening around them? • Are they doing something else? W HER E • What time of day is it? • Are they in a hurry? • How much time will the interaction need? • How often will they use it? W HEN • Are they with other people? • Is it noisy? • Is what they're trying to do private? • What are the social expectations in this context? WHO • What devices do they have? • What else are they using? • How might modes work together? • What’s free? (Hands, eyes, mouth, ears) WHAT • Will they know they can use voice? How? • Will they have to remember how to use it? • Will they trust it? • How do they do it now? Is voice better? • Is a different mode a better choice? • How does voice make them the hero? WHY
  17. 17. Prioritise short, frequent interactions* * (unless you’re doing entertainment).
  18. 18. PRINCIPLES AND PRACTISE
  19. 19. voiceprinciples.com
  20. 20. @bensauer Voice-first DESIGN PRINCIPLE
  21. 21. Like mobile-first: 
 you can adapt voice for screen, 
 but not the other way round.
  22. 22. “We’ll just re-use the 
 chatbot flow on Alexa” Don’t do this! Seriously!
  23. 23. VOICE-FIRST PRACTISES @bensauer@bensauer@bensauer • Write, then read out loud • Read-through testing • Wizard of Oz • Fix your content strategy
  24. 24. @bensauer If you’re not *having* conversations, you’re probably not creating good ones. @bensauer
  25. 25. @bensauer Design for the edges DESIGN PRINCIPLE (AKA ‘REAL LIFE’)
  26. 26. © Clearleft 2018
  27. 27. This is the stuff you 
 will be judged on.
  28. 28. @bensauer Be co-operative DESIGN PRINCIPLE
  29. 29. GRICE’S MAXIMS @bensauer Quantity: no more than is needed Quality: honest and well evidenced Manner: clear and polite Relation: helps with the task at hand
  30. 30. @bensauer Be brief DESIGN PRINCIPLE
  31. 31. @bensauer <ALEXA READS CRAZY LONG ANSWER> TOO LONG How many calories in a banana? USER: There are eighty-nine calories in one-hundred grams of banana. GOOGLE: JUST RIGHT? TOO SHORT? How many calories are there in a banana? USER:
  32. 32. @bensauer Fail gracefully VOICE PRINCIPLE
  33. 33. 1. Spend more time on errors 
 than on the happy path. @bensauer
  34. 34. Constraint, with the 
 illusion of freedom.
  35. 35. 3. An artificial conversation is like crossing a tightrope. 
 
 Widen it for your user.
  36. 36. WIZARD OF OZ TESTING
  37. 37. @bensauer JEFF KELLEY’S WIZARD OF OZ TESTING @bensauer
  38. 38. @bensauer MESSY HUMAN 
 INPUT HOW THE SYSTEM RESPONDS
  39. 39. Get the design 90% right 
 before a line of code is written.
  40. 40. @bensauer Could I go from an idea for a voice interface, to a test, in under an hour? CHALLENGE:
  41. 41. Demo time!
  42. 42. TRUST IN THE ASSISTANT When will an assistant be so good at meeting our needs that we hand over decision-making? @bensauer
  43. 43. CHANGING CONSUMER EXPECTATIONS When will it become annoying to a consumer that they can’t connect to a brand with their voice? @bensauer
  44. 44. DOMAIN SPECIFIC INTELLIGENCE When is a "smart fake" good enough for most conversations in a given context? @bensauer
  45. 45. QUALITY OF THE ECOSYSTEM When will the industry embrace standardisation? @bensauer
  46. 46. Voice has the highest potential for trust, yet is where it’s easiest to lose it. THE VOICE PARADOX
  47. 47. MARC WEISER “The most profound technologies are those that disappear. They weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it.” @bensauer
  48. 48. I’m @bensauer. We’re hiring! “BRIGHTON. thanks for listening.” Read more of my nonsense at: 
 bensauer.net + voiceprinciples.com @bensauer

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