January 31, 2019 USER EXPERIENCE

The Fundamentals of Quality Voice Products

PTC crew Article Author
Phillip Hunter
Nuance Communications Director of User Experience at the Cognitive Innovation Group

Phillip Hunter is a voice technology guru - covering the early days of voice-enabled call centers to modern products like Alexa.

Alexa fmr UX Product Lead on Building Voice Products (Part 3)

In many ways, the best practices for creating voice products that maximize user value are very similar to conventional digital products. It’s important to remember that while voice technology is pushing tech products forward, there are tried and true product principles that need to be considered when building for voice. Here are a few points of emphasis to consider.

Clarity of Purpose. The definition of what your product is supposed to do.

Non-Trivial, Uncommon Benefit. Something that you get from the product that you can’t easily get from somewhere else.

Comfortable Interaction. Users seamlessly engage with the product with minimal friction.

Consequential Content. Your product is more than just filler, it means something deeply personal when people use it.

Engaging Emotion. This is the reason that keeps people interacting with your product or makes them care about using it.

Gratification. In the end, your product needs to give people what they want.

When it comes to voice products, each of these “standard” best practices play a role in creating well-made products. That said, any product that uses voice technology needs to be laser-focused on user-centric design. In other words, the intimate nature of voice-enabled interactions requires product teams to think about the user experience in greater detail.

For example, you’re probably familiar with the who/what/when/where/why framework for creating a particular solution. When it comes to voice products, it’s even more critical to define what matters and figure out what your target users are expecting. Said differently, the human element of optimal voice interactions makes it even more imperative to develop the perfect user experience.

While there are many examples of voice products that simply add noise to an already-crowded market, here are examples of voice-enabled platforms that provide clear value.

 Jeopardy

  • This is one of the most well-known game show brands in the world. That said, previous online versions of the game failed to capture the most iconic exchange that occurs during the television show. Of course, this would be answering in the form of a question. With the voice-enabled version of Jeopardy, users are able to speak their answers as they would if they were on the set with Alex Trebek.

Bamboo Learning

  • In-home education has always been challenging – especially when it comes to driving repetition in an interactive fashion for little kids. With Bamboo Learning, kids solve basic math products (2+1) and are gradually learn more complicated math problems as they go forward. This is a perfect example of solving a common problem by utilizing voice technology to drive engagement and an easy-to-follow path to learning.

Google Home

  • Rather than using your phone, you can ask Google Home to look up a recipe while you’re in the kitchen. In addition, there’s a communal element to introducing voice products to common household interactions. For example, everyone in the room can engage with the response or content being presented by the device. Plus, anyone can ask a question or receive the information being given without needing to utilize a common device.

 

Click here for Part 1

Click here for Part 2

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About the Speaker
Phillip Hunter
Nuance Communications Director of User Experience at the Cognitive Innovation Group
Phillip Hunter is the VP of Product at Pulse Labs - creating user experience solutions for voice-driven products. Prior to joining Pulse Labs, Phillip led the user experience team for Alexa at Amazon. In addition, Phillip managed user experience team for Amazon Web Services. Before his career at Amazon, Phillip worked on design teams at Microsoft’s application services group - including Bing, Office and Skype.

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