OK Google, Siri, Alexa and Cortana: Will 2019 be the year of Voice UI?

In the era of ubiquitous technology, the use of Voice User Interfaces has grown magnificently. Big tech companies like Amazon, Google, Apple, and Microsoft are investing in voice technology. The multitude of millennials has been using Siri, Alexa, Home, and Cortana in the recent past. Amazon Echo (stealing the show) has improved lives of many. Voice UI may seem fresh off the press to you. However, the technology has been in the research circles for decades.

“In 2024, the voice and speech recognition market is estimated to be worth around 7124.97 million U.S. dollars worldwide.”

– Statista

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But, why have people suddenly started talking about ‘talking to machines’?

From touchscreen UI to screenless UI

From desktops to laptops, from laptops to phones and tablets, from phones and tablets to smartwatches and smart speakers, with every digital innovation, the screen size has drastically reduced over the time. With vanishing screens, digital is not limited to how people interact with brands through their laptops or phones.
The academics of our time have always enamored us with physical input and digital output. We have been living in the world where we would never think beyond mouse and keyboard for input. However, it is the time that we take our imagination to the next level, expand our skill sets, and walk towards voice as an input. Voice UI is changing lives (for the good, of course).
Invisible UI, screenless UI, zero UI, hidden interface and no UI are all interchangeable terms. Call it what you want, but it is becoming a hot topic in the design community for sure.

According to Gartner,

“By 2018, 30% of our interactions with technology will be through “conversations” with smart machines.”

Invisible UI – The next frontier

Digital telepathy coupled with AI enables us the capability to communicate directly with computers. Ability to speak to your device and having them understand and act upon your request is something we have been trying.
Having seen the rapid proliferation of voice technology this year, there is no doubt of the fact that the year 2019 is going to be the year of Voice UI, the screenless interactions in the post-screen world. Just like mobile touch screens turned the tables and touched the lives, the Voice UI is going to permeate in all aspects of lives.

How should you keep your brand ready to face the screenless world?

Since how many years we’ve been hearing, “It’s the year of mobile!”?

Well, that happened! However, it is the thing of past now!

It is the time to focus on a broader vision now: an augmented, connected world full of customisation and personalisation with voice interfaces and new user behavior. How would you do that? Here are some tips…

⦁ Think you are a consumer
Before you develop anything, ask yourself first if you would use it as a consumer. Ask questions like, “Does it solve problems?” So, before you create anything, make sure it solves the existing problems and meet customer needs.

⦁ Predict voice-driven search

“Google says 20 percent of mobile queries are voice searches”

– Search Engine Land

As we are moving from physical through virtual to now audible shelf space, you must know your brand voice. If you don’t know the type of content you need to create for your brand, your competitors will get ahead in a blink of an eye.

⦁ Keep conducting experiments
The only key to survive in this constantly-changing tech world is to keep testing. You just can’t wait for your competitors to implement it first and check if it is going to be a success or not. Keep experimenting yourself before it leaves you behind.

But, what voice technology has to do with marketing?

Voice-search is a boon for online businesses as well as local ones:

⦁ SEO:
Voice search is changing the way people used to search the information online. Marketers will have to keep away from the traditional keyword-based methods and focus more on conversational language now. Google had already put more emphasis on this, back in 2013.

⦁ Local search:
Voice search facilitates users to find the information on-the-go creating a positive impact on local search results. According to a research, the ‘near me’ searches has increased significantly since 2011 and the number is still rising, as we speak. So, the voice-search capability helps to increase the footfall for the brick and mortar stores.

The world is rapidly adopting VUI, are you?

As we move from mobile-first to voice-first, businesses have started preparing themselves for the screenless future in the ‘post-app’ era. The race of talking to computers has already begun. So, make sure you prepare yourselves for a frictionless voice experience in the post-screen world.

Rethink UX, think beyond the screen!

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