I’d like to share a few thoughts about what is going to have an incredible impact on design in these coming five years. I’m referring to conversational design. The shift from visual interaction to voice and audio will be huge, and it’s gradually driving the future of e-commerce, social platforms, and many (if not all) industries.

The reason why voice will surge is that it actually resolves two needs in a way that wasn’t possible for technology to do previously.

1. Win time

We can save time by making digital tools (like your mobile device) more weaved into our daily routine. I’m referring to simplification and ‘easy multitasking’.  If there’s anything that can make multitasking more efficient and feel more natural, it will become a must-have. Think about browsing while driving or showering while ordering. Who doesn’t want that?

2. More depth

Texting, mailing, chatting. It almost fully replaces the concept of talking. The stimulation is so overpowering it overwhelms our thinking. We’ve come so far from naturally talking and communicating to where we are today. By going back to ‘voice’ I believe we step back to our natural communicative behavior and interact more intuitively. More nuances and depth than any emoji can give you.

Toward a New Type of Design

The UX skills of today are far from the skills required to be a proper conversational designer. From what I see, these types of designers require a special set of characteristics we need to better understand.

1. Linguistic Skills

I see a large role for linguists in supporting (or becoming) conversational designers to build conversational ‘wireframes’ and guidelines. It’s important that technologists receive a clear briefing on how to create the desired voice experiences.

2. Voice Pattern Recognition

Just as we have webpage heat maps (‘who‘ clicks ‘where‘), we need to have this for voice. This data shines a light on what works and what doesn’t work. Why do people respond to certain questions in a certain way? How do you nudge or trigger people to take a preferred action?  All these questions will have to be analyzed and implemented accordingly. It’s the basis for future voice funnels.

3. Voice + Image

There will be more channel options, and we need to understand how ‘voice’ and ‘image’ are going to merge to create one single experience. Websites and apps become dynamic. How will we navigate a website or app supported by voice? What do we see? What do we hear? You already see this evolution in e-commerce. You engage in a conversation while instantaneously your app evolves allowing you to see previews of what you ask for.

Voice is here to stay and will make our lives a lot easier when it matures. Web and app UX design must adapt to the new voice channel realities to be able to create a desirable experience. UX designers must understand linguistics, conversational patterns, and how voice can interact with visual channels.

In the next post, I’ll talk about two voice opportunities worth exploring.


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