Voice User Interfaces (VUI): The Future of Interaction Design

Voice User Interfaces (VUI): The Future of Interaction Design

The human voice is a highly effective means of interaction and communication. Voice user interfaces (VUI) are the next generation of user interfaces inspired by human conversations and allow people to engage with machines using their natural language.

The concept of commanding a machine with one’s voice was once thought to exist only in science fiction. The most well-known example is Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey, in which an alien rather than a human serves as the film’s primary enemy. HAL 9000 was an advanced AI that voice commands could direct. Get the Best UX Design Services from top companies.

What exactly are UIs for voice input?

Voice user interfaces (VUIs) enable the user to control a computer by speaking to it. Siri, Google Now, and Amazon’s Alexa are all examples of VUIs. The fundamental benefit of a VUI is that it enables users to interact with a product without using their hands or looking at the screen.

Applying the same design principles to VUIs used for GUIs is impossible. Because of this lack of visual affordances, users of a VUI are left wondering what the interface is capable of and what they can accomplish with it. Actions in a virtual user interface should have clearly stated interaction possibilities, inform the user of the functionality they are employing, and provide as little information as feasible.

Visualizing User Interfaces

The book Designing Voice User Interfaces states that the 1980s saw the rise of interactive voice response (IVR) systems, which dominated the first period of VUIs. The telephone-based devices in question could process verbal commands and carry them out. Early in the 21st century, IVRs proliferated throughout service sectors, including finance, travel, and logistics. Inbound calls would be routed through an IVR to answer client questions via prerecorded messages based on data extracted from databases. While interactive voice response systems were initially designed to kick off automated processes before customers even reached a human operator, they now more commonly deliver the initial answer to customers.

In the second generation of VUIs, made possible by advances in natural language processing, automatic voice recognition (ASR), and AI, users can engage with computers in ways previously thought impossible. The second generation of VUI includes voice-only (also dubbed an auditory interface) devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home and multimodal interfaces like Siri, Google Now, and Cortana for mobile devices.

The lack of a screen to display data, options, and commands and the inability to obtain data on demand makes VUI design more complex than that of a graphic user interface (GUI). To compensate for the fleeting nature of aural interfaces, the VUI should explicitly express the available interaction options and provide only the essential information without overwhelming the user. Users must be instructed on how to engage with the system, including what kinds of voice commands they can use.

Commercial Use of VUIs

Although VUI has the potential to make users’ lives easier at home, its potential applications in the workplace should not be overlooked. For instance, Amazon’s Alexa for Business may help with scheduling meetings, locating files, answering questions, and even training new hires. Thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud computing, VUIs can be seamlessly linked with other smart home and office systems to benefit businesses across sectors, from healthcare to manufacturing to retail.

Voice-Based Interfaces Have Great Potential

In 2021, screenless web browsing accounted for more than 30% of all web browsing sessions across all search engines. The quick evolution of voice assistants and smart speakers significantly contributed to this. More than that, voice assistant technology is ushering in a new era of highly nuanced and interactive human-machine interactions.

1. The possibility is quite alluring for businesses:

  • They can use speech user interfaces to communicate with clients, workers, and other interested parties.
  • Businesses can learn more about their clients through voice analytics, allowing them to provide more personalized and exciting service.
  • They can improve efficiency and security in the workplace with the help of voice-enabled gadgets.
  • VUI solutions that are easy to use, functional, and aligned with the brand’s values can help businesses save money while providing faster customer service. 
  • Businesses can expand their customer bases and attract new clientele by prioritizing voice interactions.
  • They may forge deeper customer connections by tailoring their interactions with your company.

Why is it beneficial to use a voice interface?

Using a voice user interface has various advantages for both organizations and customers. Take a peek at a few of them below:

  1. Open to all users.

Everyone, from the most tech-illiterate to those who are blind, may use a voice user interface. That’s why it’s the best option for companies caring about customer satisfaction. One technique to make technology easier is switching to a vocal user interface.

  1. Improved reliability

Because there’s no need to memorize or write commands, voice user interfaces reduce the likelihood of making mistakes. This has the potential to lessen user irritation and boost efficiency and output. For instance, a voice-activated search on a website can be significantly quicker and more accurate than a text-based search.

  1. Sensitive

If you want to provide your consumers with a more sympathetic service, consider using a voice user interface. People are more receptive to a human voice than written words or a static image. A vocal user interface can facilitate a more personal connection in some scenarios, such as customer support.

  1. Using It With No Hands

A speech user interface eliminates the need for a mouse, keyboard, or touch screen for interacting with electronic gadgets and software. This can be especially helpful when a conventional user interface (UI) could be more practical, such as while driving or cooking. As a result, businesses should expect higher levels of client involvement and satisfaction.

  1. Customized Support

Voice user interfaces can give customized support since they can learn from the user’s activities and respond appropriately in the future. A voice-activated assistant, for instance, can remember a user’s search preferences and recommended restaurants and provide those results automatically. The potential for even more customization is unlocked when combined with AI and ML techniques.

Concluding Remarks

The area of designing user interfaces for voices is fascinating and dynamic. With the help of AI and ML, consumers can form emotional connections with their digital helpers and treat them like family members.

A satisfied consumer wrote this about Amazon’s Echo Dot: “Artificial intelligence? Perhaps. It’s uncommon that I find a reason to laugh out loud, though. Alexa usually succeeds. “And the pleasure I derive from having her here is anything but ‘artificial'”. Hire best UI/UX designers for growth your business.