Old is new and new is old.
“We’ve been having conversations for thousands of years. Whether to convey information, conduct transactions, or simply to check in on one another, people have yammered away, chattering and gesticulating, through spoken conversation for countless generations. Only in the last few millennia have we begun to commit our conversations to writing, and only in the last few decades have we begun to outsource them to the computer, a machine that shows much more affinity for written correspondence than for the slangy vagaries of spoken language.”
Preston So a.k.a. /prestonso | @prestonso ~ A List Apart ★
Going from communication to conversation: Claude Shannon goes Gordon Pask.
“Technology has matured to allow organizations to deploy sophisticated chatbots and digital assistants. These solutions use Conversational AI capabilities to create experiences for the workforce that go beyond what humans alone can deliver. These bots can fundamentally transform the way workplace interactions are enabled, with the ability to resolve inquiries, automate administrative tasks, prompt the right behaviors, and deliver data and insights to improve “in the moment” decision-making. Many organizations have struggled to harness the full power of Conversational AI, but now is the time to figure it out, because the need for organizations to provide this type of ‘always on’ and personalized support has never been more important.”
Greg Vert ~ UX Magazine ★
Where’s the human voice these days? In the machine?
“It’s an important time to be in voice design. Many of us are turning to voice assistants in these times, whether for comfort, recreation, or staying informed. As the interest in interfaces driven by voice continues to reach new heights around the world, so too will users’ expectations and the best practices that guide their design.”
Preston So a.k.a. @prestonso ~ A List Apart ★
Talk to me and experience how much ambiguity there is in spoken language.
“Advancements in natural language processing, voice recognition technology, and speech synthesis allow voice-enabled devices to mimic human-to-human interactions fairly well. The levels of capabilities that devices and machines have to simulate human voices and generate natural(-like) language in a conversation vary across platforms, and since it is a relatively new technological innovation, users often do not have consistent expectations of their conversation with a conversational user interface (CUI). These inconsistent expectations are often exacerbated by the differences between verbal and written language when the CUI modality is voice; this is a subset of conversational UIs called voice user interfaces.”
Esther Horowitz a.k.a. /esther-horowitz | @estherhorowitz5 ~ UXPA Magazine ★
Structure as the backbone of all conversations.
“Design practices that build bridges between user needs and technology requirements to meet business goals are crucial to making this vision a reality. Information architects, content strategists, developers, and experience designers all have a role to play in designing and delivering effective structured content solutions. Practitioners from across the design community have shared a wealth of resources in recent years on creating content systems that work for humans and algorithms alike.”
Andy Fitzgerald a.k.a. /andyfitzgerald | @andybywire ~ A List Apart ★
Voice interactions, a terra incognita for designers with a focus on perception. Dialogues, conversations and narratives as the new black.
“Many of the best practices for designing VUIs are the same as those for creating visual designs or interactive experiences: respect your users, solve their problems in efficient ways, and make their choices clear. But there are some unique design principles for VUIs as well. Remember, we don’t always know for sure what a user’s intent was. Plus, it’s necessary to spend more time on error cases. If you keep the principles I’ve described in this article in mind, you’ll be well on your way to crafting great VUIs.”
Cathy Pearl a.k.a. /alana-schroeder | @cpearl42 ~ UXmatters ★
Always learn from adjacent disciplines. Unexpected connections are the best.
“I don’t think drama teachers will replace us all. But as product designers, we need the capacity to change our skillsets whenever it is needed. With visual UI shifting to conversations and voice-enabled interfaces, we can make our devices more inclusive and communicate with them more like with other humans. For these goals, learning new skills certainly pays off.”
Screens still relevant, even when they talk.
“Devices which include screens, but employ voice as the primary input method point the way towards a more integrated and useful holistic user experience.”
Kathryn Whitenton a.k.a. /kwhitenton | @kwhitenton ~ Nielsen Norman Group ★