Educating people on what voice devices mean for their privacy

Amazon echo device
Amazon echo device

“But what if it’s always listening to me?” is an all too common question asked about voice technology. For those in the voice industry, it may become exhausting to hear this from consumers skeptical of voice assistants and smart devices.

With the addition of visual interfaces to this technology on the rise (e.g. Echo Show), people are understandably concerned with each new sensor, camera or microphone added to their products. To what extent is this technological development an invasion of our privacy?

To answer this question, it is important to understand the constraints of voice technology. Also, we must realize…


Compelling use cases for voice first experiences

Young child wearing oversized bose headphones
Young child wearing oversized bose headphones
Photo by Alireza Attari on Unsplash

Since the debut of the Amazon Echo in 2014, smart speakers have revolutionized the way consumers use voice applications in their daily lives. As of early last year, nearly 90 million people in the United States alone use a smart speaker. Voice assistants are now found in our phones and homes, and are entering other channels, such as cars and stores. Despite this explosion of use cases for voice first technology, its potential has not been fully realized within certain populations.

While nearly all of us can benefit from a virtual assistant in some way, the best use cases are…


Hi, I’m calling to follow up on your last appointment. But first, can you please tell me your full name, address, and date of birth?

hands typing on laptop keyboard with stethoscope nearby
hands typing on laptop keyboard with stethoscope nearby

I heard this daily introduction back when I worked as an analyst at a call center alongside nurses treating patients with chronic kidney disease. I tracked phone call productivity and efficacy by looking at metrics such as call duration and medication adherence.

What surprised me most was how much time nurses spent with patients conducting routine tasks. …


The marvels of emotion-detection technology

Four eggs with various emotive faces drawn on with sharpie
Four eggs with various emotive faces drawn on with sharpie
Photo by Tengyart on Unsplash

Emotion is central to the human condition. During conversation, we detect emotion through tone, body language or facial expressions. Using emotion, our voice delivers content and, more importantly, context, to every interaction. Sentiment analysis is a technique that processes language to identify subjective information in conversation. For example, attitudes or opinions about a business or topic.

While sentiment analysis has been around for decades in marketing, audio sentiment analysis remains mostly conceptual. Despite this, audio sentiment analysis is making a splash in the AI realm. Rather than solely focus on what people say, audio sentiment analysis understands how it is…


Considering the economics of design improves user experience

Person’s hand inputting ATM pin number
Person’s hand inputting ATM pin number
Photo by Eduardo Soares on Unsplash

Economics is frequently associated with business, finance or politics. Design may conjure thoughts of art and aesthetics. As a designer with an economics background, I’ve noticed that few people associate the two fields with each other. However, there is immense opportunity to combine design principles with economic theory to create valuable products and services.

Before diving into specifics, we must understand how a typical economist and designer think. At its core, economics explores how people respond to incentives. Money is one incentive, but so is social status, recognition or the opportunity to save time. Designers explore how people accomplish goals…


Person laying down with radio boom box by feet
Person laying down with radio boom box by feet
Photo by Eric Nopanen on Unsplash

Listening to music is a highly personal experience. Every musician has their own style, sound, and if they’re lucky, fans. When I hosted my radio show in college I didn’t necessarily expect a fan base, but I did want people to listen closely.

What started as a couple of albums on my iPod Mini (remember those?) has since grown to a massive collection of musical experiences. Much of my teenage and young adult years were and continue to be spent in record stores, browsing online music forums or at live shows.

Julia Anderson

UX designer exploring how technology can make us better humans

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store