Accessibility Scotland 2018
A great day and some views and issues around voice interfaces
I had a great day at Accessibility Scotland last week. Really interesting conversations and presentations, and even some topics that made me think about things I never considered before.
I also had the opportunity to lead/moderate a roundtable on a technology I’m heavily invested in and that I believe will be changing things significantly in the near future: Voice interfaces.
The topic: “Voice technology (i.e. Alexa) and how they can work for accessibility”
A very dynamic conversation, with very relevant ideas from an accessibility perspective and possible future uses that can genuinely help users. It was also fascinating to hear first-hand stories from disabled users and how and how they use voice interfaces, as well as what would they like to see and what puts them away.
However, voice always tends to be shadowed by the commercial aspect from those at the top of this technology (Amazon, Google). The question after this would be, is it necessary for an external neutral entity to arise and bring standardisation to a fragmented industry, but also be technology agnostic, and not commercially-driven, instead one that is user and accessibility-driven?
I love voice, and it is one of those technologies that I not only use more and more on a daily basis, but that I also expect more from as time passes; yet with some important challenges ahead, its clear potential and its imminent adoption, the most important decisions still made by commercial drivers, despite that the great innovations and possibility for development come from companies that state that they always put customer firsts and at the core of everything they do…