Q: How do I work on voice interaction work as a UX designer if I’ve never worked on voice?

We use user-centered design process to design for voice. I can see some confusion if you come from GUI design. We don’t have wireframes in voice. We have sample dialogs.

Try the following:

Before you start any design, start with a sample dialog to showcase the customer journey of a happy path.
Example:

System: Thanks for calling Quora. I looked up your number and I see you have a payment that’s due. Are you calling about that?

Caller: yep

System: OK — for security — tell me the last four digits of your social security number.

Caller: 1234

System: Got it. I see we have a VISA card ending in 7145 on file. Would you like me to use that one?

Caller: Yes please.

System: No problem…let me get put that through….All done! If that’s all you needed, feel free to hang up and thanks for calling. For help with anything else, just say ‘Help me with something else.’

Now — I’d create some other scenarios as well that’s not so much happy — such as a payment failure, transfer to an agent, etc.

Create a prototype
This part is somewhat tricky since most designers coming from GUI don’t know how to prototype for voice. So how do you do it? It really depends on the platform. If you’re designing for Alexa, you can use AWS to create just the text-to-speech prompts to get a prototype working to demonstrate the call flow. If you’re in a for a challenge, you can practically develop the whole Alexa skills but that’s outside the scope of a voice designer.

Test & Usability
Doing usability testing for voice is also new to GUI designers. I suggest you look at the method called Wizard of Oz testing: Wizard of Oz experiment — Wikipedia

Documentation
For the love of everything that’s holy — please document your designs. I’m currently working on a web-based platform for this and if you want to read the main idea behind this, check out my blog — Arun George — Experience Designer

Conversational Design
This means you should study linguistics. I can show you some general guidelines. For example, in a conversational design, we don’t use “may” since “may” is permissive.

Bad design:

System: Thank you for calling. How may I help you?
Caller: make a payment
System: I will transfer you to the next available agent.

Good design:

System: Thanks for calling. How can I help you today?
Caller: make a payment
System: No problem. Let me get someone who can help you.

In the bad design example, notice that the content is a little too formal. Of course this is based on your target audience but generally we tend to not follow formal designs for a conversational approach.

In the good design example, notice two things:

Use of contraction — “I’ll” vs “I will”
Instead of “may” I used “can”

— –

If you need any specific help, feel free to reach out!

69 Comments on “Q: How do I work on voice interaction work as a UX designer if I’ve never worked on voice?”

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