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Smart speaker on table

Tips for prototyping

Fiona Morgan, Chief Operating Officer from labworks.io shares her recommendations.

What to consider when prototyping a voice experience

Affordance - The properties of an object that tell you how to use it

  • Smart speakers, especially the ones without screens, have nothing. All a user knows is that you talk to it, so your scripting and design has to consider how to lead the user and teach them to interact in the way you want them to.

Routine and habits - What triggers a user to interact with your experience?

  • It could be associating it with boiling the kettle, or playing a game whilst at the dinner table. These devices are not known for providing good reminders and triggers to bring people back to your content, so you need to think about that and build it into the design.

Time of day - When do you imagine it will be played?

  • This can impact the length of the experience, the amount of interaction needed and the level of concentration. Ours was designed to be played in the morning, along with the radio. It was low-level interaction which meant you could play whilst doing your makeup.

Mental capacity - How much information you can hold in your head

  • If you make a branching narrative that involves the user remembering where they are, keeping track of previous decisions, as well as knowing what they’ve got in their backpack, I’ve got bad news… it’s going to be very tricky without a screen. Limit what you need them to remember and write your scripts to support that.

Accessibility - Make the most of the device

  • Creating something with voice might give people who have previously been unable to interact with your content a new way of doing so, which is a really great thing. You should also consider that it could be a benefit in temporary situations. Imagine a dad has just got home at 7pm, in winter, carrying the shopping and his 3-year-old… He would really benefit from a handsfree experience in this moment.

Discovery - How will people know you exist?

  • You’ll find that letting users know your experience exists is one of the most challenging aspects about creating for voice, so it’s something that should be thought about from the start.

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This article is from the free online course:

Introduction to Conversational Interfaces

UAL Creative Computing Institute