A Quick Guide to Good Voice UX

By Alex E.

02 August 2019

With more people making the shift from screen interactions to voice interactions, brands are quickly trying to adapt to this changing landscape. Here are 4 strategies to help you build good voice UX for your company’s voice marketing strategy.

Words matter

In a voice and audio first world, your words and copy matters more than before. Screen interactions provide the luxury of visual cues and interactions. With visual design the user can scroll up and down the page easily. This lets visual design persist. With conversation design each word must serve a purpose and move the conversation forward. This means that while you regularly put text placeholders “lorem ipsum” when designing visual mocks, now the words themselves will be a huge part of the design.

So, scratch those placeholders out, grab a buddy, and brainstorm the user actions best served through voice. Once you have a short list,

grab two chairs and sit back to back to mimic a real conversation with an assistant.

Assign roles to each person, one playing the assistant and the other playing the user. Being back to back will help remove the visual cues we often use when speaking to one another (“they look like they’re about to finish their sentence, I’ll speak now!”).

Guide the user

Conversation design is linear and ephemeral.

A conversation starts at a given point and proceeds to guide the user down a path until they reach the end. Alternatively, they choose to return to the start and go down a separate path.

This linear path requires a similar structure as would a customer on-boarding flow where you take a user from point A to point Z. Knowing your start and your end is key. Navigating backwards in a voice world is harder than clicking back on your browser or scrolling up.

Concretely this means having fewer open ended questions and using guided conversations.

Open ended: “How can I help you?”

Guided conversation: “Please begin begin by saying “What is the status of my flight”, or “check me into my flight”.

Through it all, having succinct messaging at each step that successfully moves the user through to the next step is crucial. Keep your copy writers close folks!

Know the user intent

To correctly guide the user through a linear conversational structure you must know where they will ultimately end up. That means fully understanding what your user sets out to do as well as knowing the persona of who your audience is.

The user intent will be limited in part by the scope of the voice app you are building. Is it primarily utility based or does it provide entertainment? Are you serving a simple or complex task?

For the user persona, this would include your usual target audience for your brand and specifically which subset of your audience will use your voice app. Knowing the register, age, locale, education and similar qualities will drive how you position your user’s intent in the scope of your voice app.

Build your brand

Choosing a voice that matches your brand is integral to success. As jarring as it is to have the website of a company have a brand different design than the mobile app of the same brand, having your voice app not vibe with the rest of your brand will create lackluster results. If your brand speaks to the affluent millennial dads, the voice you choose should complement that story.