Things To Keep In Mind When Designing Voice UI


The word interface brings many of our thoughts directly to Graphical User Interface (GUI) which is the type of interface utilized by a majority of the digital products available in the marketplace today. Since Graphical User Interface is the interface we are most familiar with, it became the natural manner in which we created digital products. However, there is a newer way for us to explore now and that is interaction through voice.

The technological advances in our world have made an immense amount of progress lately, especially when it comes to automated speech recognition and natural language understanding. While it’s stats were average until a couple years ago, Voice recognition has now reached the accuracy of 90% in today’s time. Users are quick to adapt to this feature and according to Google, 20% of all mobile input queries online are voice based searches. If that weren’t enough, ComScore predicts that by the end of 2020, half of all online searches will be made through the use of voice UI. Today we are standing in front of a fundamental shift in how humans interact with machines. This is what makes it so crucial for designers and website development service providers globally to keep these things mentioned below in mind while designing VUI.

Building Trust

The most important factor while building a bridge between technology and humans is trust. With a lack of trust, users will most likely choose to not interact with machines at all. This is what makes it so important for there to be trust while building Voice UI and it should be a designer’s top priority. There are two things to be considered:

– Valid Outcome

When a user is interacting with a VUI system, he expects to get the results that he has asked for. When the system delivers an unlikely and unasked for outcome, it reduces the user’s trust. This wastes time and causes the user to shift back to using the keyboard for manual searches.

– User Control

VUI is one of the biggest UX challengers for designers since the first iPhone came into existence. This has caused designers to create a new language for the VUI enabled interfaces. And at the same time, these developers and designers need to ensure that this system is compliant with GUI along with VUI. User control is extremely important for a good VUI.

Easily Cognitive Load

There must be some reason why people are fascinated by Voice enabled interfaces, right? They use it because it saves time. Due to this very reason, result accuracy and efficiency needs to be a top priority in order to reduced cognitive load so a user feels it is more convenient to use VUI.

There are a few ways this can be achieved.

– Avoiding Elongated Sentences

It is a human brain’s natural response to remember the last bit of the phrase uttered by a system or individual, more than the rest of it. This is why while creating a VUI, designers must stray away from long sentences and only choose what can be remembered by the users.

– Providing Help and Assistance

Help and assistance should be provided at the same time that it is required by the user. A carefully designed instruction guide will allow users to navigate the VUI with enhanced ease, find their way around and understand where they need to go.

Importance of Privacy

Data privacy is a significant aspect of VUI design and it proves to be quite a challenge for designers all over the world. People aren’t always happy to find that the voice enabled user interface is always listening in and sending data to the cloud without their consent. This fact is unavoidable but what developers can do to get around it is to ensure complete transparency with users. Tell them how it is and let them know what kind of information the VUI will store, where it will store it and how long will it remain on the cloud. Ensure that the users know, understand and consent to this data storage.

To conclude, migrating from our current situation to a VUI enabled world is not an easy task to accomplish. But it is a road we must tread on with absolute transparency.