You’re coming home from the grocery store, arms full of paper towels and cans and all sorts of other things when suddenly there’s a problem: your front door is locked, and the key is in the back pocket of your pants.
Now if you wanted to, you could put all of your groceries down, shuffle various items around in your hands, or conduct some other rearrangement that would just generally make everything awkward for yourself.
But what if there was an alternative? What if you could unlock your door with voice commands, and not have to move a muscle (other than your vocal cords) to do it?
There is, and luckily you set it up last week. You say to your door lock:
“Alexa, open my front door.”
It prompts you for a password, which you then tell it (quietly, so the neighbors don’t hear) and it unlocks the door for you. With barely any effort, you’re inside!
Sounds crazy, right? But it’s happening right now if you have the right voice assistant and know how to set it up.
For this particular example, you have to enable the door-opening functionality in the Alexa app first, and then tell it what the password should be. Once that’s set up, you should probably test it a few times with the key in your hand, just in case anything goes wrong. But once everything is set up, it should make your life a whole lot easier, especially when your arms are full of stuff or other things happen.
And that’s just the start. In a variety of areas, VUIs (or Voice User Interfaces) and voice technology are set to reshape how we interact with the world in a variety of ways. Combined with artificial intelligence, the implications are far-ranging. The following are just a couple of the handy ways that voice technology can enhance your everyday life—and a look at how you can harness the power of VUIs and digital assistants for your own purposes.
That weekend, you’re at your favorite restaurant with a friend, and you’ve just finished up a great meal. Your friend has asked if it’s alright with you if they put the whole bill on their credit card, so that they can accumulate travel points with their credit card company. This is fine with you, you’ll just need to pay them back when you have the chance.
And since there’s no time better than the present, you reach into your pocket and pull out your phone. Then you say to it:
“Hey Siri, send $10 to Obaid Ahmed.”
This activates the RBC app on your phone, which then prepares to send that much money to the contact who has that name in your phone. Once you confirm that it heard you correctly (you’re a generous person, but it’s important that you don’t accidentally give Obaid $10,000) and tap your finger on the touch sensor on your phone to confirm that the payment should be sent, it’s done! Magical.
Flash forward to next week, and Obaid’s over at your place. It’s playoffs night, and watching sports is hungry work. Why not order a pizza? Since you’ve already set up your Google Home voice-enabled devices, you can input your address, a payment method, and a few other details, and solve this pizza problem without even getting off the couch.
You call out to a smart speaker:
“OK Google, let me talk to Dominos”
And from there, you go through a series of questions about what you would like on your pizza (pineapple. Do not forget the pineapple.) and when you would like it delivered (as soon as possible). Google uses the information you’ve already stored to process the transaction, and before you know it, a piping hot pie is waiting for you at your front door. Dig in!
Designing a VUI
So you’re probably pretty excited by this point, and are thinking about how to make your own voice tech breakthrough. The easiest way to get started is with Botmock. It’s a pretty simple tool, with a lot of power behind it.
Everything starts with a blank screen, free from any constraints, where you can build whatever you want in the drag and drop interface. You can set up steps, give them conditions, branch as many paths as you need, and even jump between branches as things move along. Show your customers how flexible you can be.
Next, collaborate with your team. It’s super easy to share things around, and get multiple inputs from multiple people on what they like and hate about the interface, and how it can be better. You can even export things to PDF and email them to external stakeholders, or put them in a video so they can be walked through how you see things.
Integrations are also available, letting you push out status reports on your team’s progress to places like Slack, Confluence, Jira, and more. This allows you to keep everyone informed, no matter how they like to consume information.
Once you have something you want to do testing on, launching usability tests is easy—giving you legitimate, honest feedback from real users, to help make your product better.
And finally, after your prototype is deemed ready to make its way out into the world, you can add connections to Facebook Messenger, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Slack, SMS, and any other platform you need to, and export the design specs that will let your development team turn dreams into reality.
You can try it with your team for free for fifteen days, and if you love it, rates can be as low as $14.99/month. It’s a great way to get started building your next satisfying user experience. Have fun!