It’s time to speak! It’s Voice-Age!

Well, Voice user interfaces (VUIs) is not limited to calling and messaging only, there is a lot more to the box. With the introduction of the voice user interface, many long-awaited gates have been opened. Now, you can open the gate of your house, start your car, book an appointment, and even order food – all this at just over your voice command.

Voice user interfaces (VUIs) allow the user to interact with a system through voice or speech commands. Virtual assistants, such as Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa, are examples of VUIs. The primary advantage of a VUI is that it allows for a hands-free, eyes-free way in which users can interact with a product while focusing their attention elsewhere. We all know speaking takes much fewer efforts than writing. So, using an app that works on voice commands makes things much easier for people. More and more industries have now started employing voice technology in one way or the other.

The overall trend toward VUI has been accelerating as processors get smaller and more Internet of Things (IoT) devices come online. All of the “Big Five” tech firms – Google, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook – have invested heavily in voice interface as the way forward.

In 2019, an estimated 59 percent of online searches came through voice, with some industry specific searches posting much higher (for example, food and restaurant search reached 68 percent). The speech and voice interface market sector is on track to hit $24.9 billion by 2025.

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Voice interface design uses speech recognition to allow users to engage with technology using voice commands. As the world becomes increasingly fast-paced and information-dense, voice technologies are challenging the dominance of the graphical user interface and can make the experience much smoother. Keyboards can work for text-intensive tasks like writing a blog, but for simple tasks like searches, post updates, adjusting controls, and getting directions, people would rather just talk. They can save many steps, for example, typing in an address on a small screen, but the experience must function flawlessly. In reality, voice interface design works together with tap and swipe technologies to create a better user experience.

How to Create Effective Voice Interface Designs

There is only one thing users want from a voice interface. They want their devices to recognize their commands instantly, without mistakes. Humans are astoundingly adept at understanding voice messages despite background noise, missing syllables, variations in volume, accents and word meanings that are constantly evolving. No AI can match that ability to understand spoken voice commands yet, so it is up to designers and developers to think of every contingency. They need to take care of few area significantly:

VUI can’t fit everywhere:

Any device or app could work with speech, but that doesn’t mean they all should. Intelligent voice user interface design begins with an examination of where speaking will make life easier for the user. For example, devices that will be used by the public outside, like at a drive-up window, present too many problems in terms of voice variation and environmental noise. Also, whenever the user is dealing with sensitive information like health data or confidential information, speaking out loud is the last thing they want. VUI is perfect for any tasks that benefit from hands-free use (like cooking or driving apps), smart home devices, and apps that have an emotional component (like exercise or productivity). User studies will let you know exactly where the points of friction are and how VUI could improve the UX.

How VUIs Process Information:

Humans can process voice information at about 39 bits per second, so VUIs must strive to process information as fast as possible without sacrificing ambiguities of meaning. In most cases, designers have built conversational AI for information processing or outsource this portion to open source speech recognition engines. Users become impatient when the device requires them to speak slowly or one word at a time. They also may be unfamiliar with core concepts based on their generation. For example, expressions like “clockwise” and “broken record” might not mean anything to younger users. Designer are Spending as much time as possible getting familiar with the way your users converse and design the VUI’s personality around that research. Build a rich library of utterances, commands, value and intentions to streamline information processing.

Main consideration while designing VUIs:

The first and most important element in a design plan for VUI is the “customer journey map,” where designers specify what the user needs most at various stages of engagement. If there are competitors that have already introduced working versions of their product, half of that work can be captured easily through competitive intelligence. Otherwise, it will take a significant amount of time in gathering user feedback.

With a map in place specifying what VUI must do and expected outcomes, the burden shifts to defining user personas, how the VUI will interface with various devices and a library of triggers.


There are also four main types of triggering events to consider:

Voice – the primary trigger for both launching the VUI and providing input

Haptic – pushing a button like a microphone or setting controls like turning a dial

Motion – often wearable and fixed devices take actions when a person enters the room or waves their hand

Periodic – VUIs can be set to remind the user at specific times or when a goal is reached like desired

Some car-based VUIs have also begun to incorporate augmented reality data like reminding users to shop for needed items when they drive near a preferred retailer.

In this ever-evolving digital world where speed, efficiency, and convenience are constantly being optimized.

The mass adoption of artificial intelligence in users’ everyday lives is also fueling the shift towards voice applications. The number of IoT devices such as smart thermostats, appliances, and speakers are giving voice assistants more utility in a connected user’s life. Smart speakers are the number one way we are seeing voice being used; however, it only starts there. Many industry experts even predict that nearly every application will integrate voice technology in some way in the next 5 years.

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