What is the future?
Our future user experience with computers is going to be significantly based on the intersection of personalization and voice assistants. Simply put, voice assistants are going to completely understand every question being asked, find the perfect personalized answer to every question, and empathetically return an appropriate response.
I have become slightly obsessed with voice assistants. In my limited free time, I am exploring both Alexa and Google Assistant. Both technologies have their strengths, weaknesses, and differences but their underlying user interaction and even their back-end code is glorified if/then statements. For example, “if” an end-user asks a question like, “What is the weather?”, “then,” the back-end code looks up the weather for the user’s current location and returns a response.
One of the key challenges for building useful voice assistant applications is conversational design. Although we all know how to have a conversation, designers and developers will need to discuss the problem and figure out the solution. A secondary challenge that I am noticing for creating engaging voice user experiences is providing the data behind the voice. Organizations are going to have to restructure their data to be more omnichannel and consumable by voice applications. For example, Mayo Clinic recently discussed how they had to rethink their editorial process to create content that is more distributable to voice channels.
As we begin to develop voice assistant applications and strive to build personalized user experience, everyone is going to come to the realization that we need to rethink how we structure, share, and consume data. If we collectively want to succeed, we need to collaborate and work together to define and implement standardized data structures.