Voice user interfaces (VUIs) are becoming all the rage today. But how do you build one that people can actually converse with? Whether you’re designing a mobile app, a toy, or a device such as a home assistant, this practical book guides you through basic VUI design principles, helps you choose the right speech recognition engine, and shows you how to measure your VUI’s performance and improve upon it.
Author Cathy Pearl also takes product managers, UX designers, and VUI designers into advanced design topics that will help make your VUI not just functional, but great.
Understand key VUI design concepts, including command-and-control and conversational systems
Decide if you should use an avatar or other visual representation with your VUI
Explore speech recognition technology and its impact on your design
Take your VUI above and beyond the basic exchange of information
Learn practical ways to test your VUI application with users
Monitor your app and learn how to quickly improve performance
Get real-world examples of VUIs for home assistants, smartwatches, and car systems
A Brief History of VUIs
Conversational User Interfaces
What Is a VUI Designer?
Chapter 2Basic Voice User Interface Design Principles
Designing for Mobile Devices Versus IVR Systems
Setting User Expectations
Command-and-Control Versus Conversational
Don’t Blame the User
Novice and Expert Users
Keeping Track of Context
Help and Other Universals
Chapter 3Personas, Avatars, Actors, and Video Games
Should My VUI Be Seen?
Using an Avatar: What Not to Do
Using an Avatar (or Recorded Video): What to Do
When Should I Use Video in My VUI?
Visual VUI—Best Practices
Visual (Non-Avatar) Feedback
Choosing a Voice
Pros of an Avatar
The Downsides of an Avatar
Chapter 4Speech Recognition Technology
Choosing an Engine
The Challenges of Speech Recognition
Chapter 5Advanced Voice User Interface Design
Branching Based on Voice Input
Capturing Intent and Objects
Don’t Leave Your User Hanging
Should the VUI Display What It Recognized?
Sentiment Analysis and Emotion Detection
Text-to-Speech Versus Recorded Speech
Chapter 6User Testing for Voice User Interfaces
Special VUI Considerations
Background Research on Users and Use Cases
Designing a Study with Real Users
Testing VUIS in Cars, Devices, and Robots
Chapter 7Your Voice User Interface Is Finished! Now What?
Cathy Pearl is Director of User Experience for Sensely, where she helps to bring the virtual nurse avatar to life, making her conversational and empathetic when talking to patients with chronic health conditions.
Cathy has been interested in talking to computers since she was a child and wrote her first conversational program on the Commodore 64. She studied Cognitive Science and Computer Science and learned about psychology, linguistics, human-computer interaction, and artificial intelligence. She has been designing voice user interfaces since 1999, when she started at Nuance Communications. She has worked on everything from helicopter pilot simulators at NASA to a conversational iPad app that has Esquire Magazine's style columnist tells the user what they should wear on a first date. During her time at Nuance and Microsoft, she designed voice user interfaces for banks, airlines, healthcare companies, and Ford SYNC.
The animal on the cover of Designing Voice User Interfaces is a blue-headed Pionus parrot (Pionus menstruus). This bird inhabits forest canopies throughout tropical South America and southern Central America.In addition to the blue head and neck for which it is named, the Pionus sports green, iridescent plumage and red feathers under its tail. Most of these parrots grow to about 11 inches long.Pionus parrots are not particularly talkative, but prone to making high-pitched screeching calls. Still, they are considered to be calm and quiet compared to other parrot species. Highly intelligent and sociable, they make popular pets. While its lifespan averages 35 years, some survive as long as 60 years.Many of the animals on O’Reilly covers are endangered; all of them are important to the world. To learn more about how you can help, go to animals.oreilly.com.The cover image is an animal illustration by Karen Montgomery, based on a vintage image (loose plate, source unknown). The cover fonts are URW Typewriter and Guardian Sans. The text font is Scala Regular; and the heading font is Gotham Narrow Medium.