Voice User Interface (VUI) Design is rapidly emerging as a new discipline in the world of user experience due to the rapid adoption of smart speakers and voice assistants. While a lot has been written about key principles of VUI Design, or how designing for voice radically differs from designing for a screen, not much has been written on the actual concepts that VUI designers can manipulate or should think about when crafting a conversational experience. Visual designers play with layers, filters, gradients, etc...But what can VUI designers play with? What does their toolbox look like?
Voice assistants have moved beyond everyday commands and are becoming one of the most engaging platforms for entertainment. Conversational interface-based devices now offer an entirely new medium for entertainment brands to bring stories and characters to life, distribute content through voice, provide searchable news, and activate fans through engaging experiences.
Think about your last great conversation. What made it special? Maybe it was the other person. Or maybe it was the fact that the conversation felt natural and was something you could get lost in? Were you riding the highs and lows of whatever story you were being told, forgetting about everything and everyone else around you? Probably so, and that’s the great part about great conversation. It’s immersive.
The types of conversations you create for a voice application shouldn't be any different. Amazing conversational experiences are not only immersive, they’re also expressive. Through conversational AI, we can now move far beyond basic voice commands and make the shift toward meaningful conversations with voice assistant powered devices.
The adoption of voice assistant technologies like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple’s Siri and Microsoft Cortana are on the rise. And with Amazon’s recent launch of twelve new Alexa-enabled hardware products, how can brands capitalize on the exciting opportunity to engage with customers through emerging voice technologies everywhere?
Conversational banking is an increasingly popular customer interaction paradigm, a new way to access digital banking services through voice or text-based interfaces powered by Artificial Intelligence. With the rising adoption and convenience of virtual assistants — Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple Siri, Microsoft Cortana, etc. — it's only natural that the financial technology (fintech) world is looking for ways to expand its omnichannel strategy from mobile banking to voice-enabled digital customer engagement.
Conversational user interfaces (or CUIs) are platforms that mimic a natural human conversation, such as the voice assistant platforms Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, Microsoft Cortana, and Google Assistant. Until recently, computers relied on graphical user interfaces (GUIs) that require additional hardware for visuals and input such as a keyboard or touch pad. Today, CUIs provide an opportunity for the user to communicate with the computer through natural language understanding techniques based on advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms.
A common request from voice assistant users is to ask for their favorite station, artist, or song. Others will ask for games like Jeopardy, Akinator, or Rock Paper Scissors. And if you enjoy shows like The Voice and X Factor, then you would have enjoyed the latest iHeartRadio Rising Star Alexa skill that was powered by the PullString Converse voice technology platform and tested for optimal user experience by Pulse Labs.
The incredible adoption of voice activated devices is driving brands to rapidly embark on a journey towards building engaging voice applications. In addition to identifying a voice-first use case to build, brands must also decide which tools and techniques their team should use to achieve this vision. In our evolution over the past seven years of building conversational experiences, we’ve seen it all, and want to share our key learnings and considerations when beginning your journey with voice.
PullString Conversation Cloud’s incredible pace of innovation continues. Today, we are happy to announce our latest release of PullString Converse which enables our customers and partners to monetize Alexa Skills with premium content. In addition, you can create Alexa skills for the Italian and Spanish markets and develop skills with confidence that your work is safe and securely backed up with a new project snapshot functionality.
We are excited to share that Activision’s Destiny 2 Ghost Skill, created by AKQA and powered by PullString, won a Silver Lion Award in the Digital Craft Lions – Innovative Use of Technology category at the 2018 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.
Since our company was founded in 2011 by former Pixar executives, we have aspired to bring characters to life through computer conversation. With more than seven years of experience in the computer conversation space, predating the introduction of Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, we’ve been at the forefront of innovation, building software and domain expertise to deliver incredible voice experiences.
Smart speakers continue to rapidly become more integrated into our daily lives. There are now 50 million+ people globally activated on Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant-enabled devices, and thousands more adding devices to their homes every day. Besides driving user engagement, ensuring security for voice applications is critical for brands, so it is important to understand the key security procedures and privacy policies when choosing a software platform.
Protecting the security and privacy of our customers’ data is a top priority at PullString. Our platform, PullString Converse, provides a visual authoring environment for creating engaging voice applications that can be deployed to popular platforms like Amazon Alexa. As an enterprise-level solution, it’s critical for us to provide a secure product where customers can be confident that their data is stored safely and protected from unauthorized access. We take this responsibility very seriously. This article describes the various ways we achieve this goal.
"Alexa, can you play some jazz music?"
"Hey Siri, set a countdown timer for 90 minutes."
"Ok Google, remind me to take my blood pressure medicine at 2 PM."
Most owners of a smart speaker or voice assistant device probably haven't progressed much beyond playing their favorite radio stations or turning their lights on and off. And the idea of using a voice assistant to set a specific reminder at a specific time is probably something most of us have not done.
When you see what automation services like IFTTT.com can do, and understand how they integrate Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant into their different home automation and smart technologies — HVAC, appliances, entertainment, and security systems including video camera — you realize these voice assistants are capable of so much more.
This is part two of a three part series on designing, developing, and launching a voice-first trivia skill on the Amazon Alexa platform.
When organizations new to the voice space ask us how to get started, we typically recommend taking a “crawl, walk, run" approach: start with a delivering a basic Alexa skill in market to learn about the skill creation process as well as what their customers are looking for; then add additional functionality to enhance the experience as more is learned.
This is the third post in our blog series, “the Conversational Marketer,” about the impact voice assistants are having on digital transformation and marketing strategies.
This is part one of a three part series on designing, developing, and launching a voice-first trivia skill on the Amazon Alexa platform.
A lot of our customers ask us how they can leverage voice apps (Alexa skills or Google Assistant actions) to improve their customer journeys, or drive efficiency internally with other stakeholders.
Conversational commerce through platforms such as Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and IoT devices has the potential to be one of the most significant transformational technology shifts since the introduction of e-commerce.