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The Essential Tips For Building A Better Voice Assistant

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by Bea Potter

Voice assistants from Alexa to Bixby are popping up in the technology around us and are being increasingly relied upon by users to provide functional and smooth experiences. Voice assistant tech errors are also hitting the mainstream, such as when a character in 2019 movie Us asks her voice assistant to call the police, and instead hears NWA’s classic “F**k Tha Police.” Avoid these comedy pitfalls by following the tips on this list to build the best voice assistant out there.

Manage Expectations

AI has been all over our screens for decades and intelligent digital assistants have been the central theme of recent movies such as Ex Machina and Her. It’s safe to say these futuristic projections of voice assistants that are indistinguishable from humans has raised user expectations about what a voice assistant can do.

Our technology has come a long way, but it’s still in its infancy. If you can bring user expectations down from next generation sci-fi to a limited list of core features your customer base are going to be more satisfied with the end product.

You’re Giving Your Brand A Voice

For most brands, your customers are already accustomed to identifying a particular brand experience when they interact with your organization. Building a voice assistant is a way of extending that brand experience into a new realm – one of voice – and using this to guide your development is essential to building a successful voice assistant.

Kindra J. Aranda, a voice expert at State Of Writing and Boomessays advises that brands “focus on understanding where the core users are coming to your voice assistant from. Once you understand their aims, figure out how to most effectively help them achieve their goals. For example, a voice assistant in a car will need to respond to drivers – this context means that brevity is essential in their responses, whereas other voice assistants may get away with being more long-winded.”

Throw Out The Hierarchy

Developers of on-screen apps are used to building a hierarchy into their graphical user interface so that users are able to navigate through menus in a logical way, reaching the information they desire. The beauty of a voice assistant is that everything is accessible at a single phrase, so users don’t need to go through that process to get the answers they need.

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For developers, that means binning the hierarchical model of GUI and bringing in something more dynamic. Building each feature in isolation is the best way to make sure users have an organic experience – this way each interaction will have a natural feel to it and users will be blown away by your voice assistant.

Be Natural

Speech is far more diverse across cultures and individuals than the written word, so you have a challenge catering for everyone in a voice assistant. Users don’t want to have to fit narrow expectations about the phrasing of requests – some people will opt for the declarative “Book me a restaurant” whilst others will take a questioning tone such as “Can you book a restaurant for me?”

For a mobile app, everyone launches the same way: with a tap. Your voice assistant needs to be more versatile, capable of handling multiple inputs in a natural way. Consult the tools that are out there to streamline packing 30,000 possible inputs into your voice assistant!

Handle Errors With Grace

For the time being at least, voice assistants are going to have limitations, and the near-infinite combinations of language that users can present are sometimes going to miss the mark. These instances of failure are inevitable with current tech, but they don’t have to be the end of a good experience for your users. “All across the web 404 pages – essentially indicating a failure of the website to return the information requested – are designed with whimsical and entertaining responses so that failure doesn’t equal disappointment,” says Shannon Stringfellow, tech writer at Australianhelp and Paper Fellows, “applying this principle to your voice assistant will create a better user experience.”

Your Work Is Never Done

When your voice assistant is launched, you’re going to be able to gather a huge amount of data about user experience. Testing your voice assistant in the wild and adapting it to fit users’ evolving needs is essential to ensuring your technology keeps pace with your users expectations. A voice assistant is a powerful tool and a valuable extension of brand – continue to nurture it post-release and you’ll be on the path to the best voice assistant you could build.

Beatrix Potter is a writer at UK Writings and Academic Writing Services. She has been following tech trends for decades and is particularly interested in the emerging power of AI. She also is a manager at Essayroo Review website.

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Bea Potter Bea Potter
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