In 2018, we really saw Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant take over households and the next step is for it the trend to keep growing and evolving. With these evolutions, it’s almost becoming more and more important for large brands to start thinking a little bit more about how voice can play a role in how communication can be consistent with customers outside their phones or PCs, and a VUI designer might just be one of the most important roles to hire to get the job done in 2019 and beyond.
Let’s start by breaking down what exactly “VUI” is. VUI is simply, the idea of a “Voice User Interface”, or rather, the experience and the contexts that a user will interact with vocally in order to reach their goals with voice devices of the future.
VUI also expands to the idea of Multi-modal, which is the idea of voice-assisted screens and visual interactions. With all the settings that voice is appearing in and all the challenges of working with new metrics and a different level of interactions, it almost seems natural that a design role of it’s own can appear as well.
So, let’s dig into the concept of the role itself. To clarify, a VUI Designer is a Voice User Interface Designer, who takes on the role of understanding and focusing more on scripting to create voice experiences which balance involvement in a conversation between something like an Alexa Skill and the user. The role also takes a sufficient amount of understanding around the limitations and opportunities a certain voice channel can apply, as Alexa and Google Assistant do have different ways their interfaces can be utilized with different design/script standards.
A VUI Designer is tasked with more than just considering what a bot will say. They could be design leaders on a team as much as a mobile/web designer can be when it comes to understanding how things like multi-modal and inter-channel interactions if a voice skill allows the user to change their context and work through more complex flows.
In the future, the role could take on even more meaning, with the introduction of Amazon Alexa for Business, as a way to help internal teams communicate/move information faster and more efficiently through voice.
New Design Teams
With the evolution and importance of voice assistance and voice experiences in the world of retail and consumer-facing enterprise, the rise of the VUI Designer is something that is coming with the rise of brand new “Voice Assistant” design teams which are becoming more prevalent throughout major brands globally.
With this next evolution of design teams, it’s good to start thinking about what that would look like and how a VUI designer could potentially blend in between a Voice Assistant team and the core design team. As voice skills continue to grow and evolve with consumer trends, it’s useful to keep VUI design as something that could potentially be higher on the priority list to ensure that you’re not just settling for creating good skills, but creating *amazing* skills.