October 2019

Design Beyond Screens

Speaking @ UX Poland

Last week I was speaking at UX Poland, one of the largest UX conferences in Central Europe, celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. 

FLUID UX Poland1

My topic focused on Designing Beyond Screens. I dived into areas to consider when designing with voice, where GUI is needed,  and how to make use of agentive technology to make a voice assistant most useful. 

Voice assistants are not about excluding screens. They are about making interfaces more multimodal.

When I first started working on Voice UX in 2015, I realized that voice interfaces cannot simply live alone and copy similar behaviors as for GUI. What is needed is a stronger focus on agentive technology and multimodality. We, humans, are multimodal, so why shouldn’t technology be?

In 2019 we are still very early in VUI and agentive technology. For obvious reason, GUI dominates most apps. With current advances in VUI, we might be opening a door towards a useful yet invisible interface. I started seeing the possibilities of voice assistant and AI as a means to get things done without even touching a screen. 

They are essentially the most humane interface as spoken communication is ultimately the most human way of getting what we want. It is open for many groups of society, whether illiterate, blind, or limited in terms of language. Google assistant is conversant in over 30 languages, Siri in 21! 

From research done by us at FLUID, we uncovered that actually, the two biggest age-groups which feel most confident using voice are kids and older people, basically the non-smartphone natives.

Voice interactions force us to consciously interact with technology. How often have we taken out our phones to check Instagram without even consciously needing to. Using voice means asking for something and getting it, it needs more of our brain-power and therefore we will think twice before setting a task. 

In the past years, we have been lucky enough to have worked on several voice assistant projects and advised many more on agentive solutions.

FLUID UX Poland2

Over the next weeks, I will publish my views on multimodality and explain where voice is most useful, and how to take advantage of agentive technology to maximize usefulness.

by Stefan Markiewicz
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