Our lifestyle is poised to change with the outbreak of the global pandemic COVID-19. Everyone around us is trying to find new ways to adjust to the new normal. Professional life has also started reshaping. Offices have moved to smaller rooms from the big buildings. Work from home is trending and people are collaborating virtually.
Now amid the changing times, imagine yourself entering an elevator and reaching the desired floor without pressing any number. How? Well, by using the support of artificial intelligence, conversation design, and voice recognition technologies, these elevators enable passengers to control the lift without pressing any button. Moreover, it also reduces the risk of cross-infection.
In a similar fashion, the magic of voice can create hands-free help throughout your home or office by managing lights, controlling temperature, etc.
Voice is the safest mode of rapid interaction. It is hands-free, eye-free, faceless, and ignites seamless interaction. Voice is the primary means of communication. People have begun to express their ideas, thoughts, emotions in the language of the voice.
Humans have been developing the art of conversation for thousands of years. It is a skill that adults draw upon instinctively, every day, for most of their lives – Cheryl Platz
The way touchscreens transform the use of mobile devices, similarly the voice would be the big shift in the user experience.
The change of touch to voice is the biggest wave in user experience. It’s not a new concept, rather a natural behavior. Instrumentation and adoption of the technology is shaping this new form of change.
Voice interface is the next milestone in the spectrum of the user experience. It is a type of conversational experience design where VUX sets up the communication between humans and machines.
Voice User Interface (VUI) has the ability to personalize experiences or services and it is considered more expressive than the other forms of media available.
To interact with a voice interface, all a user needs is to simply speak to the device and be understood. However, in case of graphic user interfaces (GUI), the user must first learn how to interact with a system, but in return, it can significantly reduce the learning curve.
The voice technology is putting feet in smart home market in a big way. Voice as an interface for a device or any application enables the user to interact with smart home devices in an easy manner than other interfaces, like touch screens. Voice-based devices like Amazon Echo, Google Home are facilitating the user to switch on/off or control devices such as lightings, refrigerators, smart TVs seamlessly through voice command.
Adoption of the Voice Technology
Various surveys and deployment studies have shown increased user satisfaction with speech-based systems. A well-designed speech system can create great user experiences that are engaging and enjoyable. Speech is natural, and language is culture. And voice-based system draws on a user’s congenital language skills.
Natural user interface explains how humans interact with machines. Few machines require additional tools like mouse, keyboard, remote, etc.
Voice recognition is becoming more perfect and accurate with the advancement in the artificial intelligence and machine learning and NLP (Natural Language Processing).
13% of all households in the United States owned a smart speaker in 2017, per OC&C Strategy Consultants. That number is predicted to rise to 55% by 2022.
Nowadays, technological and human experience are very much aligned.This futuristic user experience will define the news ways. Involvement of the user language and humanization in these invisible interfaces will make the technology easier to navigate until it truly becomes the second nature.
One of the reasons people love voice interaction because it allows to multitask.
Conversational interactions will undoubtedly be a part of our future. Top technology giants shifted their focus in advancement of voice processing technology and conversational designs. These will be the main drivers in spreading voice interfaces throughout other industries.
The exponential growth of voice-based search is defining the future scope and business value of the voice experience.
Industry Segmentation of Voice Technology
Voice interface has surfaced as the technology trend of the decade. The immense impact of the voice technology in various industries and verticals would be the key differentiator in the future.
Banking and financial sectors have already started leveraging voice technology to increase security measures and ease of services for their customers. Advancement of this technology is bringing transformational impact on the retail and ecommerce segment. Ecommerce companies are also all geared up to change to voice commerce that enables consumers to make purchases through voice commands on portable devices. Education industry is also not too far away from the adoption of the voice-based solutions. Many universities are researching the development of voice-based, study material, and other educational products. From handling follow up calls to medical triage, booking appointments, and even diagnosis, VUI (Voice User Interface) is bringing a wave of change in the healthcare industry as well.
This wave of inevitable change does not mean that a UX designer must discard all the exercises, practices, learnings applied earlier. Instead, they must prepare themselves for the adoption of conversational design process and voice UX design technique. Design must understand how people interact fundamentally with each other through voice. It is the responsibility of the designers to layout the invisible interface which establishes the communication for both. Since, voice causes the paradigm shift in the way to use the things, so it would be very challenging for the designer to meet to user and customer expectations.
The Growth of Voice User Experience
Market of the voice experience is also growing along with the growth in voice technology and invention of new devices.
The Global Voice Assistant Market was valued at USD 1.68 Billion in 2018 and is estimated to reach a market value of USD 7.30 Billion by 2025 growing at a CAGR of 24.32% during the forecast period 2019–2025.Market Research future
- An estimated 21.4 million smart speakers will be there in the US by 2020, as per Activate.
- Voice picking solutions are utilized by distribution, retail, and manufacturing companies to reduce the cost of operating a distribution centre.
- One in six US citizens (16%) own a voice activated smart-speaker, as per Edison Research and NPR.
Due to the excellent intuitiveness of the voice interface, it is democratizing the use of technology. At least brain to brain communication is becoming a reality.
Voice Technology is equipped with real-time project updates, news, status, reports, alerts, invoicing, that are focused on business engagement.
This is a good time for any organization to start initiation towards voice technology, which will help to drive business more effectively.
Voice applications should be designed smartly to keep the user engaged. Interface must be capable of managing user expectations. The adoption of the user behavior and lifestyle can bring the wow factor and will inspire the users to stick to it.
The main challenge in crafting natural user experience is to define the methods of interactions with the machines, that require no tools other than once you are born with, your voice.
Voice interface technology is the future of the business. Large enterprises have already started using voice technology to reshape their businesses. Recently Microsoft and Amazon came together for the integration of Cortona and Alexa to extend the abilities of their voice-controlled digital assistants and serve their customers better. Banking and Finance company, JP Morgan is using Alexa to provide research and analysis reports to their customer.
Voice assistants are gradually becoming luxury to necessity. Human-computer interaction has never been just about graphical user interfaces, but about communication of the human with machine. It’s evident that voice will become a natural way for the new generation of users to interact with technology, and enterprises must rush to implement voice-activated technologies to remain relevant and competitive.
|Kanak Kumar is a Lead UX Professional at Evoke Technologies with experience in UX Design and Research methodologies. Kanak strongly advocates the importance of user-centric design and is capable of resolving user and business problems leveraging the latest trends and technologies in the design space. In his free time, he enjoys reading books, exploring different genres of music, connecting with people, and gathering their thoughts on various aspects of life.