A VUI or Voice User Interface is an interface that allows users to interact using audio and sound to make selections. Exciting right? You’ve probably interacted with popular voice assistants like Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa, but did you ever take a second to think about how these experiences were designed? VUI Design is fascinating mostly because it’s hard to visualize an interaction which is not graphical.
How can one design for something they cannot see or feel?
Why VUI design?
Designing voice user interfaces or VUI design is important because it puts an emphasis on the user. Think back to the roots of user experience design; designing products and platforms to provide the ultimate value for the users. This has been the goal all along. With the rise of voice-enabled devices and platforms, there is a need to optimize and design near-perfect interactions. Companies want these experiences to feel natural and effortless. The human language is complex and it’s impossible for brands to account for the millions of dialects, accents, tone, and the volume of the sound data they may encounter.
VUI design is a broad term that describes product designers, developers, UX designers and linguists working together to create the best possible voice product. It uses academia, user research, and cross-team collaboration to create something that is meaningful for the majority of a specified target audience.
Experimenting with VUI Design
VUI design doesn’t need to be scary. While it is still pretty new, there are tons of tools available to assist and make the process slightly easier. Large tech companies are betting big on voice and because of that, the resources available to help design for these platforms and devices are extensive. Whether you’re looking to make a career switch, or a seasoned designer ready to learn about designing for a new platform check out some of these resources to learn more about VUI design.
- Google Conversation Design Guidelines – This is a great place to start to better understand the basic structure of a conversation. There are tons of tips, articles, and videos which will assist you in designing conversations that are both natural and intuitive. Being that Google used these principles when designing the Google Assistant, this is an amazing place to begin.
- Botsociety – While most design tools are for GUI’s or graphic design, Botsociety specializes in something called Conversation Design. Botsociety is a design tool for conversational experiences both chat and voice. It’s very beginner-friendly and tutorials are available for extra help.
- Alexa Skills Kit – The Alexa Skills Kit is another great place to start if you want to try your hand at some VUI design. If you’re an Alexa fan, or just interested in learning to design for the platform this is your best bet to begin with. There are lots of cool articles that you can also share with your development team.
That’s all for today. VUI design is pretty exciting and you don’t have to wait to join in on the fun. Do you have a favorite voice assistant or voice app? Try re-creating that experience yourself using Botsociety.
Also published on Medium.