Valorem Consulting

| Tags: Design, Research, Strategy, Tips, UX

Xbox voice recognition

Are you SURE you want a pie? Credit: CBSi

Speech Recognition is now an integral part of many applications that we interact with on a regular basis and so designing clear and easy to use applications are vital. In the previous post we covered the discovery, persona development and layout of the application. Below we’ll cover how to make your application work well.

6. Error Handling

Mistakes happen and the result can be a very frustrated user. Reasons for users not being understood correctly include background noise, accents, interruptions or speech that isn’t recognized by the application. You must determine how the application will handle this. Will it transfer users to an operator after a specific amount of errors? Will questions be rephrased and asked back? Will the system give prompts? Will there be a verbal confirmation if an answer is accepted or will the user be advanced to the next step without notification?

 7. Design Grammars

This corresponds mostly to applications that are using directed dialog input. Grammar is defined as ‘a structured list of all the words and phrases that a user is expected to say at any given time.’ Designing grammars clearly involves working with a designer, programmer and possibly speech expert to essentially create a structure for potential human behaviors in the application usage scenarios. Remember that the more answers that are accepted at each step, the less accurate the voice recognition can be but all options should encompass what the most likely user responses would be.

8. Refine Prompt Language

One of the last steps is to decide upon the prompt language: what the users are being told by the application. Good prompts will mirror what a user is likely to say and help encourage them to say phrases or words that can be understood. While striking a balance between prompts being too short and too wordy a good technique is to employ prompt tapering. This is when the user is given a shorter set of options initially but if they are unable to provide a recognized value, then the application prompt expands and gives more information the next time.

 9. Tune the Speech

The UX designer should be heavily involved in the process of testing and tuning the speech for both application prompts as well as user entries. As there are many ways to say different things, the application must account for and help set users up for success.

 10. Consistently refine and update

Your work isn’t complete once the application is initially released. Continuous iterations and improvements will help create a useful application that caters to the needs of your users, no matter the size or scope. Make sure that the internal support and buy-in is in place in order to ensure consistent updates and attention for your application.

Did you know that IdentityMine has designed 10 applications for Xbox as well as several for Kinect? We’re experts at designing user experiences that work for you and your users. Voice Recognition is only one of the many tools that we use when creating the application that’s perfect for you. Contact us to learn more about our work or to bounce ideas off of us.

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+ Read UX Magazine’s suggestions for creating a high quality experience

+ Read UX Magazine’s speech recognition primer

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