the importance of voice design and the skills needed for vux designers

We have witnessed an enormous amount of voice applications being published in recent years, but very few of them were built with a proper voice design.

Enterprises are building out voice applications to provide a unique experience to their customers because more customers are using voice devices on a daily basis.

However, apart from the hands-free voice experience, such applications offer, which will soon be a normal thing, a badly composed voice app will not generate the expected outcome.

Like any other web & mobile-based application, a voice application should provide a reliable and satisfying experience for its users.

This is the point where a Voice Designer can make the difference

What is a Voice UX/UI designer?
Voice designers build voice user interfaces, which are the types of interactions between a user and an application that allow people to interact through voice. A voice user interface designer focuses on the interactions between people and their voice applications, such as the things users say, how they perform tasks with a virtual assistant, or how they navigate and control their voice-activated devices.

A good design can make the difference between a successful voice app and an unsuccessful one. And this goes for both Alexa Skills and Google Actions.

For example, recently we conducted a study with more than 30 000 Alexa Skills. After we studied the Alexa Skills Store, we came to realize that a skill with good reviews on the market is not as common as it should be.

In fact, only 37% of skills have reviews. When looking at the skills with reviews, only 19% of them had positive reviews. And all of this was heavily related to the content quality, lack of simplicity, unresponsiveness, and many other issues.

Issues who could have been evaded if a professional would take care of the VUX design of the Skill.

Why is voice design so important nowadays?

The importance of voice design

Something that will make it clearer why voice design is of great importance is the fact that the percentage of new voice applications launched in the Alexa Skill Store has decreased in the last two years.

This is a result of Amazon pushing developers to work on better quality Skills over quantity.

But, creating a quality Alexa Skill is not that simple. There are many factors to consider and some very important concepts that should be clear for the voice app developer, or the one taking care of the VUX design.

The rise of voice assistants and voice applications is creating a demand for skilled Voice UI/UX designers. Voice user experience designers are in high demand because the technology is evolving fast and there is a great deal of competition within the industry.

Voice strategy and VUX design

Considering the increased expansion of voice technologies not only in our smartphones but also in our homes, offices, and cars, it is starting to cause a disruption in the marketing industry.

While most businesses and brands continue using standard marketing methods, those who have joined the voice space have already tasted the benefits of voice marketing and its extensive reach.

And the first step of becoming one of the early adopters of this revolutionary technology is by integrating voice strategy into your business strategy.

The key part of a healthy voice strategy enabled through a voice application is by creating it with a well planned VUX design.

Different types of Voice Applications

Types of voice applications to be considered during voice design

Based on the intention a voice app is being created there are some primary types of voice applications from which derive other more specific ones.

Choosing the right one depends on the business industry and the kind of approach a brand wants to have towards its audience or consumers.

  • Fun & Entertainment: These voice applications mainly provide playful, fun, and entertaining experiences for its user. They can be music, radio streaming, quizzes, puzzles, group games, jokes & riddles, etc.
  • Informational: These apps can provide certain pieces of information to their users or consumers. The information can be about the brand, the products they offer, or a certain topic of interest for the audience the voice app is targeting.
  • Flash Briefing & News: As the name suggests, the main use case for this category of voice applications is to provide up-to-date news about the latest events. The belonging industry of the brand that is launching the voice app normally decides for the king of the news that gets provided to the user.
  • Voice Shopping: These kinds of voice apps are normally used to provide the consumers of a company with a more simplified method of ordering. It can also contain information about the menu, list of products and services.
  • Guides & Conversations: Normally used to provide orientational and educational content to the user. Also, they can provide guides related to certain products the providing company sells. Considering the voice interaction can be prolonged, a conversation flow pattern is needed.

Why is choosing the right voice skill so important?

Choosing the appropriate type of voice application to build is one of the most important decisions you can make as a voice designer.

Before taking such a decision, you need to consider the brand or business for which you are building the voice app.

What is the objective they want to reach with this voice application?

It can be monetization, awareness, selling, or improving their customer’s experience. Also, you need to take into consideration their audience, their interests, and needs.

What is their need you can improve by making it accessible through voice for a truly hands-free experience? 

Once you have found the best use case and this decision is taken, then you can then continue with the voice apps structure. The user’s needs the app will respond to, interactions included, the content it will provide, conversation flow, etc.

Types of voice apps for Amazon Alexa

Alexa Skill types

To better demonstrate the wide variety of voice apps you can build, we can take as an example the Alexa Skill types.

Each one of these Skill types is predicted for specific use cases, and by doing so Amazon makes it easier to choose the right voice skill to build.

– Business

Also known as Alexa for Business is the best choice for businesses who want to build an Alexa Skill to better manage their internal processes, like meetings, calendar events, calls, etc.

– Education

This type of Alexa Skill can be created so it helps students access classroom information, student data, and content stored in your learning management system.

– Cooking 

For cases when you want to provide your audience cooking recipes so the cooking experience for them becomes unique without having to continuously go in front of a display for the next steps. Another use case is the pre-built Skill for cooking appliance manufacturers to make the Alexa-enabled.

– Games

You can use these Skills to build voice-controlled games and possibly add video interactions for those who use Alexa-enabled devices with a screen.

– Flash Briefing

In case you want to provide news, announcements, and other short content to your audience.

– Entertainment Devices

The choice if you want to produce Alexa-enabled Smart TV or speakers.

– Automotive

You can create such Alexa Skill for an in-car or navigation voice assistant.

– Video

You can create an Alexa Skill able to control video devices and video content for both Echo devices and other Alexa-enabled ones.

– Music, Podcasts & Radio

This is the type in case you want to create an Alexa Skill for audio streaming on demand, be it for music, a podcast, or maybe a radio station.

– Lists

You can create this type of skill for your users to be able to better manage their Alexa lists.

– Smart Home

This allows you to create an Alexa Skill which allows users to control their smart home devices, manage their energy usage through such devices, or even control their security system through smart cameras, locks, and sensors.

– Knowledge

This is the best option to make a knowledge database available through Alexa.

The Conversational conveniences a Voice Design should follow

With voice-only apps, the user finds himself in front of an interface without images, references, buttons, and various directions on how to move to accomplish a task. In this situation, the user might get frustrated because, maybe, he does not understand the communication process.

It’s not that people don’t know how to interact with such interfaces, just that they want an intuitive and human-like interface. They want to be able to ask questions about the task they’re supposed to do and get feedback regarding their progress on it.

This is the reason why a voice designer should always consider certain characteristics a voice user interface must follow.

Software related VUX design specs

  1. Having a memorable and simple name for the wake word and possibly simple commands so it is easier for the user to interact with the voice application.
  2. The app should offer a frictionless experience. The fewer steps a user needs to take to achieve its objective, the better. By doing so, the user won’t even think twice before invoking your voice application for a matter or need related to what your voice app offers.
  3. Provide consistently new content for your audience. Providing fresh content periodically can increase user engagement along with audience numbers.
  4. Make your voice apps experience reliable. The faster the user gets the answer he needs and the more correct it is based on his utterance, the happier he will be.

Experience related VUX design specs

  1. Create your voice application with a user need or pain point in mind. If your voice application offers something your target audience craves or needs, success is guaranteed. However, you should it needs to be a service or set of actions that can really be done faster through voice or the users won’t find any convenience in using it.
  2. Continuously improve your voice application capabilities and conversational abilities. You can do this through consecutive tests and by checking user reviews. Reviews can be pretty helpful in understanding what can be improved or what is lacking already.
  3. When you start designing the voice user experience, it should be very clear to you what the app will be capable of doing. Once you have decided that, for the rest of the work you should focus on how the voice app will execute such abilities and it will converse with the user.
  4. Aim to create an experience so pleasing that the user says “thank you” in the end. Everything the voice assistant says to the user should make him feel comfortable and that he is in good & capable “hands”.

Reconsider the Conversational Flow for a perfect Customer Journey

When designing the user journey throughout the entire experience the voice application will offer there are certain moments that need more attention.

– First time user:

When the user enables the voice application for the first time. In this case, the interaction needs to be welcoming and if needed make a brief presentation of what the user can expect from it. Another positive thing to do, if needed, is requesting the necessary information the voice app needs to personalize the user’s experience.

– Returning user:

When the user reopens the voice app, the best action is to go straight to the point. The frictionless the encounter is, the happier the user will be. By using the previously collected information or by using the intent of the user’s request you can make the encounter immediate. And this way you can create a user-voice app relationship. This will surely bring him back soon.

– Repetitive users

The most important thing is to give the user-voice assistant interaction a human-to-human-like conversation. Try to make it sound as natural as possible. Based on your target audience profile, adapt the choice of words to their vocabulary. This will make the voice app reliable to every user you intend to reach or even more.

Where can I learn more about Voice Design & Development

Voice technology is new. It is still transforming and has a long way before even coming close to its full potential. However, the need for a Voice designer and a professional Voice app developer is already presenting itself. Among many businesses and brands who want to join the voice space, not all of them have within their employee personnel the persons capable of pulling off a successful voice application. For everyone who wants to create Alexa Skills or Google Actions, there are many secrets and concepts still unclear about this revolutionary technology.

It is a level of knowledge that mainly comes from experience in the field. Experience that you can accumulate after various years of creating voice applications for different business industries and use cases.

Also, it can be even more difficult finding such knowledge accumulated all in one place for you to read through and practice. Probably, by doing a thorough search you may find pieces of information scattered around the web, on various websites.

We can help you!

If you want to gain the right knowledge needed to develop and design impeccable voice applications is can be something hard to get.

However, here at Ipervox, we took it as our mission to provide to everyone interested the right set of skills you need to become a trained voice app developer.

Our CEO, who is an Amazon Alexa Champion and an experienced voice app developer, has prepared a series of courses that allows you to learn all there is about voice applications. From the beginner level to the one that will transform you into a master of voice design.
You can start simply by learning the basics of what a voice app is and how it works. Then, you can work your way through by learning some of the fundamental skills needed to develop a successful Alexa Skill or Google Action. Or, if you already have such knowledge, go straight to the one course that will teach you the secrets that only a long experience would have made clear to anyone.

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