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Voice Services – Speaking About the Next User Interface | Mike Hines

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Delivered at Casual Connect Europe 2016

Game developers often wonder what’s next, and we’ve heard a lot of talk about VR and AR devices. One new technology we don’t need to wonder about is Voice Interfaces. Voice command interfaces aren’t a question of ‘if’ or ‘when’ anymore; they’re a question of ‘how’. With audio interfaces common in vehicles, cell phone assistants and other consumer electronics, you will need to design an audio interface. And you’ll probably do that sooner rather than later. Mike Hines has worked with the lead developer on the Capital One Voice Skill for Amazon Alexa, and in this session you will see and hear about the most common (and amusing) traps developers fall into when designing audio interfaces. Leveraging lessons learned from developers like Capital One, learn industry best practices of designing apps and games for Voice.

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Voice Services – Speaking About the Next User Interface | Mike Hines

  1. 1. Voice Services Speaking About the Next User Interface… Reach  Engage  Earn MIKE HINES DEVELOPER EVANGELIST, AMAZON @MikeFHines mikehines45 mihines@amazon.com
  2. 2. Imagine ordering food at a fast food restaurant, and the automated server asks you: “Do you want chips or salad with your order?” You say: “Yes I would!” The server stops and throws and error…
  3. 3. This is what the developer of the automated server was starting from. Why? NOT ALL UI IS CREATED EQUAL
  4. 4. Fire TV and Echo taught Amazon a lot about VOICE INTERACTIONS Voice Recognition is not Natural Language Understanding The key is in the interactions
  5. 5. Interactions are how you talk to your customer. They invite your customers to a conversation. Conversations create experiences.
  6. 6. Key Design Principles for VOICE INTERACTIONS  Interactions Should ProvideHigh Value  An Interaction ShouldEvolve Over Time  Users CanSpeak toYour Service Naturally andSpontaneously  The Service ShouldUnderstand MostRequests toYour Interface  An Interface Should Respond in an Appropriate Way
  7. 7. Interactions Should Provide High Value
  8. 8. High Utility Low Utility Doing Performs a Task “Alexa, ask Scout to arm away mode.” “Away mode armed. You have 45 seconds to leave the house.” Searching Identifies specific info “Alexa, ask Vendor if there are Madonna tickets available for this weekend.” “There are a limited amount of tickets, ranging from $49 to $279.” Telling Provides a quick reference point “Alexa, tell me a cat fact.” “It is well known fact that cats are smarter than dogs.” Browsing Gives info on a broad subject “Alexa, ask Amazon what’s on sale.” “The following items are on sale right now...”
  9. 9. Interactions Should Provide High Value Voice is conversational. Very different than touch driven experiences. Less is more. A large majority of the types of interactions submitted today can grow with the user over time. Aim for interactions that perform tasks on behalf of the user and learn as time goes on. This will provide a much better experience and lead to more interactions that can do more.
  10. 10. Customer secure ACCOUNT LINKING • Allow your customers to link their accounts to your service. • Platform may provide this. • Developer may have to provide.
  11. 11. An Interaction Should EvolveOverTime
  12. 12. An Interaction Should Evolve Over Time Voice user interfaces work well when they are focused, and give quick responses. Start with a primary use case that both communicates your business case, but is also a clear winner for a voice user interface. Let’s do one thing well, and add in capabilities allowing it to get smarter over time. Evolve shorter, more focused interactions by learning about the customer.
  13. 13. Example of Adaptive Design VOICE INTERACTION Launch Travel Buddy Hi, I’m travel buddy. I can easily tell you about your daily commute. Let’s get you set up. Where are you starting from? Utrecht Ok, and where are you going? Amsterdam Great, now whenever you ask, I can tell you about the commute from Utrecht to Amsterdam. The current commute time is forty three minutes. There is a 15 minute delay from Utrecht Central. Launch Travel Buddy Your commute time is currently twenty two minutes.
  14. 14. Users Can Speak to Your Interface Naturally and Spontaneously
  15. 15. Users Can Speak to Your Interface Naturally and Spontaneously The experience of using your voice interaction should allow users to not have to think about what to say and allow them to not remember how to say it. They should be able to converse with your interface just as they would another human. All they need is a rough idea of what your service can do (e.g. playing music, placing a call, etc.), and they just ask the service to do it. This is the real value of voice interface, but this value can quickly erode in an interaction that forces users to interact in unnatural ways.
  16. 16. Users Can Speak to Your Skill Naturally and Spontaneously You should try to remove artificial interaction syntax and make interactions as natural as possible. Allowing your users to make simple requests without having to think about the format those requests should be in, will create a much better experience.
  17. 17. Starting a Conversation in Voice Interactions Invocation options: An invocation is how you start your voice service. With Amazon Alexa, you can say: “Alexa, [ask | tell | play | launch | use | start | begin] MyService [for | to | and | for] [variable]” Alexa, ask [scheduleUpdate] for [dailyUpdate]. Alexa, start [scheduleUpdate].
  18. 18. Example of awkward Voice Interactions Odd Phrasing: Very odd and/or lengthy invocations that inhibit using the skill in a conversational and spontaneous way. “Order [boots], [hiking], [size 12]” “Order [size 12] [hiking] [boots].” Lengthy Invocations: The combination of service name with the task is often difficult to remember the exact syntax . “Ask [transportation service alerts] for the [current status] of [train] [train_number].” “Ask [trafficbuddy] about [the train][to Amsterdam]”
  19. 19. Your Service Should Understand Most Requests
  20. 20. Your Service Should Understand Most Requests In a natural voice interaction, most requests are understood and acted on. Your service should endeavor to do the same. Requiring numerous attempts to invoke your service will be frustrating for your customer.
  21. 21. Building a Voice Interface CUSTOMER INTENT • The mappings between a customer’s intents and the typical things they say that invoke those intents should be enumerated.
  22. 22. An Interactions Should Respond in an Appropriate Way
  23. 23. Appropriate responses are TIMELY Challenge: • Pauses while the service looks up data are a much bigger deal for voice that screen Solution: • Keep APIs fast • Leverage Service Session data • Keep explanations terse…but not rude
  24. 24. An Interaction Should Respond in an Appropriate Way Appropriate responses are timely. Provide adequate error handling for unexpected or unsupported input. A user should never be exposed directly to error handling. (Instead respond with a request for more information.) Check for missing variables or values in your service. If you find any missing information you should respond to the customer with a reprompt.
  25. 25. Can any interface become a VOICE INTERFACE Maybe not.
  26. 26. Having a Good Conversation in a VOICE INTERFACE  Makes It Clear that the User Needs to Respond  Clearly Presents the Options  Keeps It Brief  Avoids Overwhelming  Offers Help for Complex Skills  Asks Only Necessary Questions  Uses Confirmations Selectively  Obtains One Piece of Information at a Time  Makes Sure Users Know They are in the Right Place  Avoids Technical and Legal Jargon Write for the Ear, not the Eye!
  27. 27. Digging Deeper into Voice Design Alexa Skills Kit Voice Design Best Practices - http://bit.ly/voicedesign Alexa Skills Kit Voice Design Handbook - http://bit.ly/voicehandbook Wired for Speech: How Voice Activates and Advances the Human-Computer Relationship, by Nass and Brave The Elements of VUI Style: A Practical Guide to Voice User Interface Design, by Bouzid and Ma Don’t Make Me Tap!: A Common Sense Approach to Voice Usability, by Bouzid and Ma The Voice in the Machine: Building Computers That Understand Speech, by Pieraccini Voice User Interface Design, by Cohen, Giangola, and Balogh Did you enjoy this presentation? - http://bit.ly/mikehines Add your email to the form to enter drawing for a Kindle Fire tablet!