No UI is the new UI.

Human interface guidelines which were focused on screen interactions a few years back (think smart phones and smart watches) have been adopted and mastered by both designers and product gurus. With each new OS version there are new guidelines, but the innovation in that space has slowed. One generation gives way to the next one…

Welcome Conversational Interfaces! The new way to interact with machines. With the tech industry fiercely adopting the voice-enablement of devices, and some of the bigger players frantically trying to get market share, this space is here to stay!

  • comScore, predicts 200 billion searches per month will be done with voice by 2020.
  • Gartner estimates that 6 billion connected “things” will be actively requesting support from AI platforms by 2018. These devices will likely include many connected appliances, cars, wearables, and other gadgets included in the broader Internet of Things market.
  • IDC says that by 2020, the IoT market will be valued at a whopping $1.7 trillion

Unlike verticals like mobile apps, this is still uncharted waters and there is no clear winner. Building great experiences in this space is not that easy! While there are enough engineering challenges — speech recognition, NLP, AI, there are also user interface challenges — how do you make the system respond perfectly.

The larger impact voice would have across industries makes it specially exciting — its not limited to smartphones or smartwatches. It impacts cars, alarm systems, kitchen appliances, entertainment systems, POS systems — theoretically anything which can be connected to the internet and has a voice interface (microphone and speakerphone). Even places like hospitals or warehouses will have an increased usage.

What defines a great voice interface? What makes it work well? How does it differ for voice only v/s voice with screen devices. In my next post, I will talk about what are the ingredients of a great conversation interface.