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Apr 26, 2023 | 3 min read

How can a voice user interface improve our daily life? Since the launch of Siri and other similar services we are well acquainted with the simplicity in these services but will we ever get used to speaking to computers?

Interactions with machines

Regardless of smart fridges one could argue that any situation where our hands are busy with something else could be an environment where we want a seamless interaction with a machine. Like when we are driving a car. Other examples are wearables and IoT (Internet of Things) devices, that naturally would lack any other means of user friendly interface. 

The growth of voice user interfaces (VUIs) has been slow and steady over the past few years. These interfaces have found their way into a myriad of devices, from smartphones to vehicles. The initial vision of asking the fridge to order home milk is still not here yet. Not because the technology isn’t ready but because we still feel uncomfortable talking to the fridge. 

Great VUI design

The downside of VUI:s are that they often lack clear indications of what the service can do? Or what the available options are? A great VUI design should: clearly state what the service is designed to do, tell the user what functionality they are using and limit the amount of options so the user can remember them.

Another challenge is that many of us associate voice interaction with badly designed telephone interfaces (interactive voice response). How many of us have felt that none of the options is relevant or that we are wandering around in circles?

It can be hard to know what to expect from voice interaction. How “smart” is the receiving end? Should I issue commands or use a normal sentence? For a VUI to succeed, it requires an excellent ability to understand spoken language and also using prompts to guide the user, i.e. “You can ask which band plays the current song or get more information about the artist”. 

At the end of the day a VUI service becomes your brand’s voice. An experience that needs to be flawless in order not to reflect negatively upon the brand experience. 

Illustrations of sound waves in neon

Mercedes leads great VUI experience

The Mercedes-Benz MBUX infotainment system is leading the automotive market as the gold standard in intelligent interactive voice interfaces. Beginning with their A-class model, Mercedes has given drivers control over in-car functions, such as window control, internal cabin temperature, lighting, and more. In addition, the voice assistant provides hands-free access to navigation, phone calls, and text messaging, as well as local business information and stock market updates.

According to MotorTrend, MBUX is one of the best infotainment systems on the market — highlighting the MBUX’s sassy personality and human-like understanding in a recent report.

Simplicity is key

One of our clients, the Swedish start-up Wanderword, pushes the boundaries for interactive audio. They have developed Fabella, a node-based no-code editor for designing voice-controlled entertainment and services. We are proud to be their partner creating communication, websites and even helped them with a few of their interactive audio games.

As the success story of audiobooks has shown us, there is clearly a market for heads-up, hands-free experiences and interaction. Does your company have any products or services that could make use of VUI? To make your customers’ interaction a bit easier and dare we say, more conversational…