Voice technology is taking over. Almost everyone is interacting with it in some way; in their cars, on their phones and in their homes. Voice is changing the way we live our lives. Need to add something to the grocery list? Just start talking and it can be added. Need to know how many cups of sugar to add? Just ask your smart-speaker.
But how does it work? How do voice activated devices understand you? How do they interpret what you say and perform as expected?
When building user-centered design applications, always start with the user experience research. As technology advances, it is understood that consumers are moving towards simplification. They want to order food from their couch. They want answers without having to navigate through various screens and inputs. They want to grocery shop without the hassle of driving to the store, finding a parking space, roaming around the store looking for items, standing in line to checkout, and driving all the way home. Consumers want technology to understand and adapt to their lifestyles instead of the other way around. Why should we be expected to learn new interfaces or gestures to interact with our devices?
“59% of consumers say that they’re using voice assistants more than last year.” -Adobe Digital Insights State of Voice Reports, 2019
To bring this point home, Apexon’s UX team created a mock grocery store as an example called The GhoNow Supermarket. At the start, the research conducted to build the app began with studying people’s shopping experiences. The results indicated that time, or the wasting of it, was one of the biggest frustrations. The GhoNow Supermarket allowed users to interact with the store via their phones, laptops, in-store with point-of-sale devices, and voice using Amazon’s Alexa. Shoppers could create accounts, add and remove items from their cart, and place orders for pick-up or delivery. This suite of services and functionality from a common single-source of data is an ideal example of Unified Commerce and it is key to mitigating users’ pain points.
Building a unified commerce experience is very important because it can be frustrating when the various devices aren’t connected or aware of how consumers are interacting across the various platforms. Real-time awareness across all platform touch-points is critical. In addition, ensuring the same set of services and features across each device allows consumers to interact with the Supermarket wherever they are.
When building voice technology, we must be conversational, guiding our customers toward their intended goals; we don’t want people to get lost trying to figure out what to say to advance. We must build triggers or prompts to help guide them through the transaction. In this case, a trigger might be: “Alexa, add chicken breast to my shopping cart” or “I’m ready to checkout.” Following checkout, users can send their items to their local store. Our skill can recognize where they are and make suggestions to ease the process: “The closest GhoNow Supermarket is 1.2 miles away in While Plains, New York. Would you like to checkout from White Plains?” Then, someone else on the same family account nearest to the White Plains store may get a notification that there is a shopping order ready to be picked up.
One thing to note is the misconception that chatbots and automated operators are the same as voice technology. Voice technology uses Artificial Intelligence so it can detect patterns and infer what people are saying. People can give answers in any way they want and the voice technology can reason and understand what they are saying, whereas scripted operators cannot do so. This is what makes voice so revolutionary!
If you want to learn more about voice technology or experience our GhoNow app contact our User Experience team today.