We just released our latest book on Voice Assistants — Voice UX Design: Tackling the Discoverability Issue — which focuses on what we as developers can do to improve on the user experience in Voice.
We start out with the fundamental challenge facing all stand alone Voice interfaces, i.e. that we lack the visual information channel when a picture is worth a thousand words. How do we compensate for an audio only interface? How do we efficiently convey information in a linear, information sparse format?
Then we move onto user expectations aka “The Jarvis Problem.” Our users are familiar with Voice interfaces from science fiction. They have expectations which do not correspond to the current realities of the accuracy of Natural Language Parsing (NLP). How do we deliver compelling experiences that play to the mediums strengths while respecting user expectations? How do we train users on how to make best use of an audio only interface? How do we compensate for NLP’s challenges with accuracy and context?
Next we get into the discoverability issue which is essentially teaching users how to navigate a user interface when they have no understanding of where to find specific kinds of information. We describe the work that went into building the modern (visual) website, including the user training and expectation. How did the web development community reach consensus on elements like the Navigation bar and Search buttons? What can we apply from those lessons to make the Voice experience more seamless? Then we talk about all the visual navigation design elements that are currently lacking in Voice interfaces. How do we create a Voice UX toolkit? How to we bring the options into alignment with user expectation?
Finally we review several different approaches — notably relying on the Method of Loci — to provide a shared navigation between users and developers. We describe in detail for use cases that are in production and their relative strengths and weaknesses. Then we talk about what is missing from the Voice Developer’s UX toolkit, drawing specific parallels to the Visual UX Toolkit to highlight opportunities and unmet needs.
Please get your copy of Voice UX Design: Tackling the Discoverability Issue today.