All About Voice — Top Conference Takeaways

Vixen Labs Team
Nov 4 · 3 min read

It’s important for our team members to stay at the forefront of the fast-growing Voice industry, which can mean attending the market-leading events — that is, if they’re not on stage giving keynotes!

Vixen Labs’ lead VUX Designer, Romina Pankoke, downloaded her top takeaways from All About Voice (Munich, 11th October) to the rest of the team. Overall?

“It was a great conference. The organizers’ concept was to cover all big and important topics of voice, and I think they realized it quite successfully with a great lineup of speakers.”

Let’s take a look at Romina’s highlights.

Brett Kinsella’s opening keynote “provided us with the latest statistics and developments in the field of voice technology”. For Voice news, check out Brett’s

Adva Levin’s talk was one of Romina’s favourites. Adva discussed how she approaches building kids’ voice applications — including observing users instead of actively asking them, as the results of a prototype “can sometimes be the exact opposite of what users said they would like — so her main recommendation is to create a prototype fast, and learn from there”.

Katrin Nachbar from Bayerischer Rundfunk presented an interactive story skill in which every user decision impacts the plot. Katrin presented the implementation challenge of audio recordings — “especially when recording all voice pieces and not using Alexa voices at all”.

At lunch there were networking roundtables, and Romina was the Captain for Table 2: Women in Voice. “It was absolutely amazing to meet other women who are just as excited about building a WiV chapter for Germany as I am.”

Google’s Jonathan Bloom gave a fantastic talk in the afternoon in which he talked about the less-than-happy path. Jon pointed out that, although it’s a critical element of designing for voice, the term error-handling has a deeply negative connotation. “He recommends we should be calling it grounding strategies instead, an idea I love!”

Romina described her main takeaways:

  • hearing people talk about their experiences when building for Voice was great — pretty much everyone encounters similar challenges
  • observing users is really important — undertaking specific user research before prototyping should only be considered an inspiration
  • everyone building for Voice should put enough energy, time, and budget into grounding strategies
  • the international Voice industry is such an amazing, inspiring and warm community
  • Voice is definitely expanding in Germany, and we can learn a lot from countries who are slightly more advanced
  • there was a focus on operations (as in, actually building Skills and so on) and we definitely need to remember that applying strategy is at least just as important

If you’d like one of the Vixen team to attend, speak at, or run a workshop for your organisation or event, check out what we do or drop us a line on

Vixen Labs

News and perspectives from the Vixen Labs team. Voice First Strategy, Experience and Marketing specialists.

Vixen Labs Team

Written by

Europe’s thought leaders on Voice First technology. Content from James Poulter, Jen Heape, & Romina Pankoke.

Vixen Labs

News and perspectives from the Vixen Labs team. Voice First Strategy, Experience and Marketing specialists.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade