Voice (What Is It Good For?)

Compelling use cases for voice first experiences

Young child wearing oversized bose headphones
Photo by Alireza Attari on Unsplash
  • Complete tasks more efficiently than a GUI (graphical user interface)
  • Engage their attention through personalized feedback

Children Are the Future

Think back to your favorite toy as a child. Maybe you would narrate its actions with a particular voice or it came with a button that gave it a voice of its own when pressed. Fast forward to today and this capability is being developed on a much larger scale. Companies like Creativity Inc. are integrating voice technology in a suite of products from stuffed animals to toothbrushes to musical instruments. There are also voice apps that guide kids through interactive “choose your own adventure” storytelling games.

young toddler on white blanket deciding what toy to play with
young toddler on white blanket deciding what toy to play with
Photo by Shirota Yuri on Unsplash

Design for Your Grandparents

With a growing elderly population, it is becoming essential to design for more than the tech-savvy younger generations. China’s tech industry is going for the “silver hair economy” by creating products that are tailored to older people’s needs. This includes tools with simplified interfaces, for example, easy to use photo editing apps that allow sharing on social media without a caption.

elderly woman smiles while looking at phone held by another woman wearing a mask
elderly woman smiles while looking at phone held by another woman wearing a mask
Photo by Georg Arthur Pflueger on Unsplash

Accessibility is Better for Everyone

As a core design principle, accessibility should not be seen as a barrier to innovation, but rather a requirement for it. Are you bedridden but want to manage your regular household items? Smart home technology relies on interconnected products that typically use voice as the remote control. Other voice first products are going beyond helping people with vision impairments and limited mobility. Smart speakers are also teaching people how to talk, highlighting a significant use case for those with cognitive disabilities.

Graph showing that Spanish and Chinese accents are less easily detected by smart speakers when compared to native US speakers
Graph showing that Spanish and Chinese accents are less easily detected by smart speakers when compared to native US speakers
Disparities in device accuracy highlight the accent gap

UX designer exploring how technology can make us better humans