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Engaging people with voice assistants and emerging technology

Michael GearonMike has recently joined BrandContent as a UX Designer. He focuses on voice assistants and improving the user experience through conversion rate optimisation and A/B testing.

 

Whether it’s driving your car or switching your bills to save money, technology is starting to automate tasks. Emerging technologies like AI, augmented reality, voice and connected devices are opening up more channels for consumers to access their data in ways they feel comfortable with. We’ve seen the golden eras of website and mobile apps come and go. The next generation is voice.

We have already seen growth in the use of voice and the “Internet of Things (IOT)” for smart home products like Nest for energy and security, Philips Hue for lighting even companies producing smart kettles, oven, microwaves and event bathtubs! We are now seeing voice assistants being more prominent in households with them being able to control your house, automate tasks, to play games or just for daily reminders or notifications.

The user experience will still exist in the future but it won’t be as we know it today. Instead it will be broader and encompass the whole experience from the first time a user hears about the company right through to becoming a customer of your company, not just the website or individual touchpoint or product. We’ve seen this change happen many times, such as the move from brick-and-mortar shops to ecommerce.

What will stay consistent through this change is human behaviour and attitudes towards technology, emotions and feelings like habit, trust and anxiety. This is what we should be focusing on when designing better products for our users and customers.

Will voice assistants and chatbots replace websites? Short answer, no. Instead they provide just another touchpoint for the customer. Screens aren’t going to be the only way people engage with your brand and it’s unlikely for screens to be the main medium in which a person communicates with your company on a daily basis.

For your business it’s essential to consider how and what your business will look like in the next few years and how you can support that shift. There a few types of voice assistants, to categorise them we have the following:

  1. Screen-first Interaction: Here, we start with an application designed primarily for screen, and voice controls are added afterwards to enhance the experience. This could be when you are texting on your phone and you’ve got the option to speak with voice
  2. Voice-only Interaction: Here there is no screen at all, and input and output is based on sound, such as a smart speaker like the Google Home Dot or Amazon Alexa Echo.
  3. Voice-first Interaction: This is where an app designed primarily for voice is enhanced through the addition of a screen to output information. This could be your smart TV.

Personalisation is a hot topic at the moment alongside voice. When we develop new experiences for voice assistants and other channels people want the content to feel relevant to them. As well as that individuality they also want to be able to access content through the device of their choosing and on any of their devices from voice assistants through to smart TVs.

The main points to take away are that:

  1. Voice focused devices are the next big thing, with it potentially being the next big ‘thing’ in the technology market.
  2. People will not wait for your content. They will demand personalised information quickly and on their devices.
  3. Today’s users have no patience for an obscure user experience, and expect ease-of-use or natural user experiences.
  4. Experiences will happen across devices. Before you leave for the morning, you’ll be told about your morning commute. Then as you leave the house the route is displayed on your smartwatch. And then when you’re in the car it’s projected on the dashboard with live accident reporting being sent straight to you. Think about your brand, how will you slot into people lives and create a meaningful experience?

Of course, we don’t know what the future holds for us. All we can do is prepare for it. Be mindful and have the resource in place to deal with the changes. If your not considering voice assistants now then you need to be soon. At BrandContent we can help your business identify ways to improve conversion, find new touchpoints and ultimately, improve the user experience.

If you have any questions or would like to contact Mike you can reach him at michael.gearon@brandcontent.co.uk

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