The past few weeks I’ve been exploring the growing world of digital voice assistants. Another aspect of user experience being considered now, is the power and potential of voice user interface (VUI). With the advancement in smart speakers and mobile phone assistants, the power of using voice commands is creating a lot of application potentials.
My first interaction with voice assistants was the original Xbox Kinect made by Microsoft. It was an interesting 1st step, but the voice commands were simple. Mostly the commands were simple navigation for apps like Netflix. The jargon was simple commands. Here’s a sample of commands you can use:
|Xbox on||Wakes up system, turns on TV and set-top box|
|Xbox turn off||Powers off Xbox, optionally powers off TV or set top box|
|Xbox||Shows master voice command options|
|Xbox select||Shows contextual voice command options|
|Stop listening||Cancels voice command mode|
|Xbox help||Help menu|
|Xbox use a code||Kinect scan for Qr codes|
|Xbox show notification||Show notifications|
|Xbox sign in||Sign in to XBL|
|Xbox sign out||Sign out of XBL|
|Xbox sign in as||Sign in a user by name|
|Xbox sign out as||Sign out a user by name|
|Xbox record that||Records previous 30 seconds of game footage|
|Xbox start a party||Starts party application|
|Xbox volume up||Increases volume|
|Xbox volume down||Decreases volume|
|Xbox mute||Activates mute|
|Xbox unmute||Deactivates mute|
|Xbox go home||Opens Home|
|Xbox show my stuff||Opens home|
|Xbox go to _______||Launches games or applications by name|
The list of commands can be very hard to remember. You also had to remember how to say the phrases correctly. It’s a shame Microsoft seemed to have abandon development of Kinect. However the voice assistant lives on in the form of Cortana for Windows 10 and Microsoft Surface devices.
Since then being an Apple user, Siri has been an interesting experience. I can be frustrating at times where I’m yelling at her in the car trying to drive hands free to send a message. Or deciding to make an emergency call after asking her to search something online for me. The list of commands while are visually accessible, it’s hard to remember what Siri can and cannot do within app to app.
Lately in my education regarding user experience and user interface, the need to understanding voice commands is greatly growing. With the likes of Amazon’s Echo devices and the progression of Amazon Alexa, Google’s Home with Google Assistant; the depth of recognizing common phrases, accents, and a slew of commands is rapidly evolving.
While I applaud companies like Amazon and Google to opening up the resources to the public to let people try to develop voice apps for their platforms, the method of planning voice user interface is a mixed bag. Having recently completed my user experience design at RED Academy, I’ve been looking for the proper methodology in learning about the right way in doing case studies for voice user interface.
That’s where VoiceTechTO came into my life. I found this Meetup group online and I’ve participated in a few workshops, I feel I can learn from the growing field and this great group of local programmers, developers and designers in a booming technological field. I feel learning about the foundations of voice user interface will help compliment my knowledge of user experience. I also love that as a community we are developing a case study to create a voice app to help in the teaching of conversational English for English As A Second Language (ESL) students. I hope to write a more thorough post of the develop of this ESL app as part of my UX case studies for my website. The learn more about VoiceTech TO visit their website.