Voice assistants: what do designers have to do with this?

The relationship of people with media content and voice assistants has been changing in recent years. Podcasts and audiobooks are gaining more and more strength. The same is true, for example, with cell phone search engines and smart car controls, which can be triggered with just a few words. And if sound devices are changing

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The relationship of people with media content and voice assistants has been changing in recent years. Podcasts and audiobooks are gaining more and more strength. The same is true, for example, with cell phone search engines and smart car controls, which can be triggered with just a few words. And if sound devices are changing the form of consumption, it makes sense that companies create strategies to position themselves in this new moment – but this will only be possible if designers develop new skills.

The growth in the use of voice assistants

Gone are the days when performing functions by voice command was a problem. Before, we talked to personal assistants and we were often not understood. But over the years, this technology has improved and today it is even possible to have more elaborate conversations with Siri, Bixby or Cortana, for example.

On the other hand, consumers began to feel more comfortable with artificial voices, relying on machines to perform everyday activities, such as checking the weather, setting an alarm, listening to music or making calls.

This trend has intensified with the popularization of smartphones, now, much more accessible to most people. After all, voice features are widely used in smartphones. But other devices that use this same technology, such as smart speakers, are also gaining space among consumers.

Smiling Mature Man Listening To Music On Wireless Speaker

As people get to know and become familiar with new technologies (driven by the practicality they provide), this relationship becomes stronger and consumers start to see voice assistants as part of everyday life, including them, step by step, in complex activities.

Blind shopping: where is the design?

Anyone who thinks that relying on machines to make purchases is a distant reality could not be more mistaken. A study by Adobe Analytics, for example, showed that, in 2018, more than a third of Americans who used smart speakers had already purchased products through this device. And this doesn’t stop here.

According to a survey by the Capgemini Research Institute, in three years, 73% of consumers will prefer to make their purchases through voice devices. And experts at Gartner point out that the e-commerces that early adopt this type of technology will earn at least 25% more in revenue or cost savings.

This means that a considerable part of purchases will take place without the customer having visual contact with the product. But calm down! We are not saying that design will no longer be necessary. It will still have great influence in the process, like research and comparison between competitors and, of course, on the consumer experience. And in this way, a new possibility is opened for professionals in the field: the design of voice interactions.

Designing sound experiences

The experience and interface design – which is designed with a focus on the user – has been very successful when applied to products, services and even on the client’s journey. That’s because today we see design as a facilitator, something that goes (a lot) beyond a purely aesthetic aspect. And to make products more intuitive and enjoyable, you must first consider the consumer and the way he interacts.

Close up of adorable attractive happy girl testing headphones in a tech store.

These methodologies that was already tested by the interface designers will be an extremely important basis for the creation of new methods that facilitate the customers’ experience with voice assistants. Although there are issues of the design of sound interactions that will need to be considered exclusively for this area, considering all its specificities, such as the fact that it is much less palpable.

In this scenario that is increasingly defined by consumers and their relationships with technological devices, such as voice assistants, it is important that designers invest in new skills that allow the creation of more interactive products and services. Only then is it possible to provide customers with more efficient and satisfying shopping experiences.