Amazon Echo is a useful smart product for one reason, its multimodal input modes. People can accomplish tasks by choosing the interaction mode that best suits a particular moment in their lives. For example, let’s take Echo’s shopping list feature.
Lipstick on a UI
Oriol Bedia

I would be reluctant in declaring the Amazon Echo a success and even more reluctant in setting it as a reference point for good product design.

It is in a similar place to the Apple Watch in that it has a lot of early adopters who are mostly enthusiasts but it really wouldn’t make any difference to the world if it didn’t exist.

What problem are these devices really solving and how are they making our lives better?

Are we always ‘shopping’ for stuff to buy so much that we need ‘Dash’ buttons and Echo devices all over our houses?

The benefits of these invasive, intrusive new technologies are not yet clear.

Voice command as a mode of interaction is a failed, techno-centric concept and particularly annoying in non-work, social contexts such as the family home.

Devices like the Nest Thermostat get the balance right and incorporate multi-modal interaction really well.

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