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Facts Everyone Should Know About Guide To Voice User Interface Design

Nitish Verma By Nitish Verma | July 25, 2020
fact about user interface

So, after a great UI strategy, you are now planning to get started with a voice user interface design. 

But voice user interface design is quite different from an app UI which we have discussed in the last blog “Top mobile app UI design trends”.

The difference between a UI and a Voice UI carries a lot of differences like- What is VUI in actuality, why it is being adopted by app developers, how to design it, what are the principles required for it, what challenges are there to tackle and its associated trends too to get started with. 

Here in this guide, we will be explaining to you about everything related to VUI starting from its beginning- What is VUI. 

Let’s get started with this guide to voice user interface design

What is a Voice User Interface Design?

Also called VUI, Voice User Interface design is an interface to any kind of speech application. With the help of Artificial Intelligence, Voice UI makes any spoken human interaction with computers possible and worthy. The replies are based upon Speech recognition for spoken commands, text to speech, answer questions mechanism. 

Other than AI, other technologies like Natural Language Processing, Speech-to-text, text-to-speech, along with cloud services have attracted widespread attention from the users to Voice User Interface. Hence, get a look at top cloud computing trends to make things worthy. 

This is the reason Voice User interfaces are now being utilized in home automation systems, computer operating systems, along with home appliances like microwave ovens, television remote control, washing machines, etc. Through Virtual Assistants, one can interact with!

Here are a few statistics one can get an understanding of VUI- 

Voice User Interface Design Statistics

  • As per Gartner, Early adopter brands that redesign their websites to support visual and voice search will increase digital commerce revenue by 30% by 2021.
  • It is estimated that by 2022, the amount of voice commerce sales will grow to as much as $5 billion in the UK and a whopping $40 billion in the US.
Voice commerce sales 2017, 2022 in U.s. & U.K.
  • About 30% of all searches will be done without a screen by 2020.
  • As per Activate, there will be an estimated 21.4 million smart speakers in the US by 2020.
Use Cases for Smart Speakers
  • According to Google, 25% of the users use voice-activated speakers in their bedrooms, 52% of the users use them in the living rooms whereas the rest of them are using it in their kitchens. 
Voice - Activated Speakers Usage
  • The reports shown by Search Engine Watch are – Mobile voice-related searches are 3X more likely to be local-based than text-related searches.
  • Google Assistant is now available on more than 400 million devices.

Why Voice UI is Gaining Popularity?

There are several reasons making Voice User Interface popular and effective- 

  • Speaking is more natural 

The first voice user interface example is speaking. 

It is quite obvious that speaking is way easier and effortless as compared to typing for a search query. This is one of the reasons why VUI is gaining popularity as a voice-based command application that makes users’ search and work easier. 

The voice-based command thus makes the process of getting solutions for the users easily without the need to type. Thus, Speaking being the natural flow encourages startups and organizations to embrace this feature of an easier process. 

  • Smart technology

One of the other smart technologies voice user interface design is not limited to calling, booking, sending messages, it is more than that now. Voice user interface design guide can also open doors, ordering food online, starting the car or taking an appointment, etc. 

And all of these are possible with the help of a voice. 

  • Convenient for disables

If there is a technology, it is not divided as per the region, demographic, or people. Hence, if we are talking about VUI design technology is also a boon for visually impaired or disabled people.

Using technology, especially needed people can take leverage of it for finding solutions without major challenges. 

So, the aforementioned points in this guide to voice user interface design are highlighting the importance of Voice interactions and the upcoming points will be all about how to get started with it in your next mobile app development project.

As the voice user interface design guide is focusing upon the importance of Voice user interactions, let us get started with the promising part- 

Steps Required for Voice User Interface Design

There are 6 important steps in this guide to voice user interface design to be taken care of when designing VUI. Failing to use them in the designing process might result in not so appealing and required VUI. 

Those top steps to get started with the Voice UI designing are- 

  • User persona
  • Define all the scenarios and cases
  • Know the conversational design
  • Deliverables
  • Specifications of VUI
  • Prototyping & testing

Let us now understand them in detail- 

  1. User Persona

Getting started with a decent and nice understanding of how your users will use your voice-based application will provide an enhanced experience to them. 

For gaining the same, ensure you know 

  • The purpose of your voice based application in the life of your users.
  • How and why your users are going to use this feature.
  • Your voice-based application can be an efficient source for them.

Once you are done with these important questions stated in this voice user interface design guide, the next batch of questions will be like- 

  • The personality is given to the application
  • How will the app sound?
  • How would they be behaving?
  • Is the personality given by you suits the VUI of your application and so on!
Voice User Interface Design User Persona

Mobile app user persona related questions are the beginning of your VUI designing for app development. 

2.Define all the scenarios and cases

We all need to accept that voice comes naturally as compared to writing something. Speaking is fast and natural for giving and offering information too. Also, we have mentioned that it can be used by anyone, be it by a normal person or disable one. 

Hence, in order to design your Voice UI based mobile application, always consider the use cases. for example- Know what is Sid trying to gain? Why would Sid be using your voice-based feature instead of another smartphone application? And other such questions. 

Read also- Top web design trends for the upcoming years

Once you are done with these critical analyses from the guide to voice user interface design, you can make everything on the same page and then plan for the further development processes. By prioritizing the essential functions, you can make the app’s major features first while eliminating unnecessary features.

ACME Product: Voice Interaction Use Cases

3. Know the conversational design

Writing for a reading perspective is much easier than writing for speaking purposes. So, before getting started with the actual process of VUI design app development, ensure you know how humans converse with each other and then write down the dialogues. 

4.Deliverables

There are app developers, who often begin with the app developing using sample dialogs, whereas some of the voice ui designers begin with flow diagrams. Both the style of getting started carries their own set of advantages and strategies, hence, it is right up to the voice UI designer to choose the one best way.

Meanwhile, the deliverables are also divided into two sections- sample dialogs and flow diagrams. 

  •  Flow Diagrams

Flow diagrams are high-level diagrams made with all the possibilities for the application like- error messages, happy notes, backend needs, etc. In Flow diagrams, the commands for error messages, or happy notes can be written with a simple or plain message. 

Furthermore, working with flow diagrams can begin with creating a diagram of the most important and the major feature or functionality of the application and then combining them together. 

  • Sample dialogs

A snap of a single app feature or the path is called Sample dialogs. These sample dialogs are like storyboards for speech. To understand if you are on the right track, read them aloud with someone in your team to ensure if they sound natural, realistic, or not. 

Voice User Interface Same Dialog Flow

5.Specifications of VUI

Once you are done with the above things, it is now the time to let your system have dialogues. By keeping sample dialogs at your side, write dialogues that might match the requirements of the users. 

The VUI specification is all about thoroughly detailing the specific dialogues, messages, errors, slots, utterances, and others in the VUI. 

VUI Checklist Specifications

VUI checklist Specifications

6. Prototyping & testing

Well, you have reached a point where you need to see what you have done so far. If you got some issues with the design voice, you can still go back and correct them before the final launch of the app. 

Check out- Mobile app prototyping tools for UX designing

Testing is important as it helps in finding errors, bugs or anything that might bother the enhanced experience of the users. For that matter, opt for a mobile app testing guide for better understanding. 

Now that we are done with the crucial steps to get started with the voice user interface design, let us now check out guidelines to follow when designing a precise and outstanding VUI app. d

Voice User Interface Design Guidelines

Voice design designing is not an easier task! It is an amalgamation of certain things like- brand’s ideology, user research, market trends, and so on. Hence, the voice user interface design needs to be precise in order to let the final outcome be the right solution from every measure.

To let the designing voice interfaces portray the rightness from every way, it is essential to follow 9 top designing guidelines-

  • The system status
  • The real-world concept
  • Giving freedom & user control
  • Offer consistency
  • Eliminate errors
  • Let user recognize
  • Flexibility of thoughts
  • Designing perspective
  • Support

Keeping the top points in mind, let us understand them in detail.

7. The system status

Body languages, facial expressions, eye contact are the medium through which one can understand if a person is getting the meaning or not. But it is limited to visual appearance only. 

But when it comes to VUI, these expressions become challenging as they are transient and invisible. Even after a user communicates with the command, it is not possible to gain their reactions. 

Hence, it is important to make the status visible from the start till the end of the speech user interface interaction. However, in case of errors and misinformation, ensure you are offering what has been understood by the system and what has been missed.

Communicate them information like “Sorry, we didn’t get the message”, “Can you please repeat the words”, “Can you use another word for the query”. 

Let the user know what has been gained from the system. 

8.Designing perspective

Speaking and listening require the same level of memory along with working memory for problem-solving and recalling. Also, keeping VUI in mind, psychological factors like typing when thinking are still natural as compared to thinking while speaking. The latter requires more concentration. 

Hence, to make users not stress, it is mandatory to keep the app voice UI design minimal. Here minimal means offering the most important information in the first go and other in chunks. Skip giving too much or all information to the user in a single span of time.

9.The real-world concept

As you are designing for VUI, it is really required to ensure that users should not be restricted to technical question answers round. The users should be able to interact with the system using informal, and free form speech. 

Hence, designing voice user interfaces principles of conversational experiences should be made natural and intuitive as much as possible. In order to make things work out nicely, it is good to make the app filled with short, fixed commands along with a natural interactional level. 

10.Eliminate errors

Eliminating even the smallest of bugs or errors is a little challenging but not impossible. 

As per the study by Myers et al., the maximum number of errors by often being encountered by the users by mishearing or mispronunciation of users. Also, due to the combination of the speech user interface to text conversion, microphone quality, along with the user intention mapping causes experience related issues too.

Hence, before offering the app to the users, it is good to figure out the issues first. Also, it is wise to carry out research with actual users. Though the cost to develop the app will be more but on the other hand, well-designed VUI guide user research can help in bringing inside insights for the success of the application. Once you are done with it, always monitor the logs for user errors while addressing them through a solution.

11.Let user recognize

Instead of letting users recall something, give them things to recognize. Recognition of something helps users to look into their memory and thus letting them find the right information.

Take for example-MCQs, Tick mark answers questions are way easier than open-ended ones. 

Don’t expect that your user is going to remember the speech command always. Thus, rather than conversational agents or other voice-based commands, you can simply opt for the “What can I say” menu.

Thus, for enhanced user experience, ensure you are using the user’s current experiences along with their daily mental models too. Instead of using out of the blue type of idea, you can simply get started with how the user will transact face to face or during phonic conversations. 

12.Offer consistency

Voice user interface does not involve any icons, graphical elements, and others. Also, VUI is based on voice tone, the choice of words along with local phrases used by the users affect the user’s overall experience. 

Even here, user persona impacts user experience too. Thus, the virtual assistants should have a well-defined persona that involves gender, name, background, personality. This voice user interface design tutorial will help in defining what kinds of words, mannerisms, pitch, the tone might be used by the users. 

Meanwhile, when working upon voice user interface design book user persona, it is important to consider everything about user research along with the company’s brand value. Always remember that a well-documented persona makes the app development experts on various stages of the guide to voice user interface design VUI app development.

13.Giving freedom & user control

Every user wants to handle their application as per their demand and mind. This is the reason they want to respond to each action made. On the other hand, each voice-first design user responds to the system. 

To curb such a situation, it is important to use natural language processing into the system for better user experience. Also, on the other hand, both the voice user interface designer and developers should also monitor the performance of the VUI system. Any loophole or missed interaction should be considered while making improvements wherever required.

14.Flexibility of thoughts

Speaking is way easier and clearer than typing or looking for words to portray one’s meaning. Also, due to keyboard shortcuts, getting accurate results using the system software becomes challenging. 

Working with a voice user interface Alexa makes users look for answers just by verbal commands.

Take for example- Weather forecast can be asked as “Weather forecast today” or “What will be the weather tomorrow”? Here the natural language processing will become very helpful here. Meanwhile, a machine learning guide can also be used for can be considered based on new phrases or words. 

15.Support

There often arise two situations learnability and discoverability when it comes to user and VUI. The first one indicates that most of the time users tend to think that a system can understand them way beyond its actual capabilities. The second one indicates that users are mostly unaware of the available functionalities. 

Thus, to eliminate these two issues, offer your user a help menu like “what can I say” along with a possible HELP bar. 

Support, help your user to find their intended requirements nicely. 

The above-mentioned guidelines in guide to voice user interface design can greatly help in designing voice user interfaces or building a right VUI for ease and convenience. Meanwhile, the backend also consists of challenges a developer needs to look at. 

Those challenges are- 

Top 4 Challenges When Designing Guide to Voice User Interface Design

Voice user interface hurdles are part of voice user interface design and in order to offer to maximize user experience, it is important to look at them too. 

The challenges like- 

  • The security issues
  • Network availability
  • Network latency
  • Language support

Let us know what these challenges explain- 

  1. The security issues

VUI though is the great thing to make users things quick but at the same time “the always-listening mode” raises a few eyebrows. 

This makes VUI’s one of the concerns of both the users and the one who is developing it. In order to make it without any error or security issue demands additional cost and  Voice UI friction. 

Check out- How much does it cost to design a mobile app

2.Language support

Cloud services though are the latest technology, but they still support a limited number of languages. Apart from that, the variations in accents or local languages lower down the potential of VUI. 

Here Cloud app development strategies can work nicely under the guidance of top app development companies and its experts. 

3.Network availability

There are still some countries or locations that still have network access issues and often rely on big cities for the same. Lack of network accessibility is a barrier when it comes to full-fledged VUI usage.

4.Network latency

Low or slow latency is a barrier when it comes to command latency as it ruins or hampers the user experience. 

The voice interaction designing a part or related things can still be solved but when it comes to eliminating network-based issues or giving maximum language support, the cost to develop VUI will also surge high.

With it, let us now look at the example of VUI based technology being used by 4 top players in the market in this voice user interface design guide. 

3 Top VUI Examples In The Market

  1. Amazon’s Alexa

Amazon’s Alexa has gained enormous popularity since 2014. This happened due to the fact that voice user interface Alexa is decked up with functionalities and classic functions like setting alarm, playing songs, and so on. 

Getting a personalized experience is also possible from Alexa. 

2.Google’s Assistant

Google Assistant gives the potential to use to set up VUI to recognize and respond in six different voices along with an option to customize responses for each user too. 

Where other VUIs still struggle to offer users the ability to customize voice from the product, Google Assistant has earned this badge. 

3.Apple’s Siri

The next true VUI assistant, Siri is one of its kind that does not record interactions by default. The recordings if any can also be deleted later. 

Meanwhile, Microsoft’s Cortana is also in the race to offer a great user experience. 

Now, keeping all these together, the future of VUI is bright, intelligent, and full of brilliance. But among all these, how to get started with a VUI integrated mobile app?

Well, the answer to this question is here-

How Can Appventurez Help In VUI Designing?

Appventurez, the leading app development company is a team of expert voice user interface designers, developers, QAs, Testers, and more. Our team always keeps an eye on the upcoming trends, market demands, users’ expectations, and others to develop and voice ui design that suits all. Our team can bring you the exact result you expect from your idea. To get started with the same, connect with our experts today!

Nitish Verma
Nitish Verma

AVP UI/UX at Appventurez with a background in designing user interface for Mobile apps and websites, logos, storyboarding, etc. A visual designer & storyteller driven by a need to understand and influence clients and a relentless problem solver with outstanding creativity.

⚡️ by Appventurez

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