Hector Ouilhet, Head of Design, Google Search and Google Assistant

Show Notes:

Voice search and voice assistants have made consumer tech more multimodal and convenient. They also pose a complex set of customer experience (CX) design challenges. Because users can say whatever they want to a voice assistant, there’s ample opportunity for ambiguity that can lead to errors and annoyances. Such gray areas don’t exist with touch-based interfaces: The set number of buttons neatly restricts the total number of inputs a user can make.

CX SF 2019 speaker Hector Ouilhet and his team at Google are developing voice search and assistant capabilities that can handle the full ambiguity of human expression. They aim to map the gray areas and tie them back to tasks that technology can complete.

Right now, voice tech requires lift on the human side. People must learn how to ask questions in a way that tech can understand. For example, imagine that a user wants to call her uncle using a voice assistant. The user says, “Call my uncle.” But the assistant doesn’t understand that the phone contact “Max Choi” is the user’s uncle. Instead, the assistant calls Uncle Joe’s Pizzeria. The user must adapt and say “Call Max Choi” even though she never calls her uncle by his full name.

For voice technologies — and all customer experience designs — to achieve their full potential, they must become more adaptive, flexible, and customized. Learn more about the future of people-centric design in this episode.