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The Elements of Voice First Style

A Practical Guide to Voice User Interface Design

Paperback Engels 2022 9781098119591
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If you're a new or experienced designer of conversational voice first experiences, this handy reference provides actionable answers to key aspects of eyes-busy, hands-busy, voice-only user interfaces. Designed as a companion to books about conversational voice design, this guide includes important details regarding eyes-free, hands-free, voice-only interfaces delivered by Amazon Echo, Google Nest, and a variety of in-car experiences.

Authors Ahmed Bouzid and Weiye Ma provide far-field voice best practices and recommendations in a manner similar to The Elements of Style, the popular American English writing style guide. Like that book, The Elements of Voice First Style provides direct, succinct explanations that focus on the essence of each topic. You'll find answers quickly without having to spend time searching through other sources.

With this guide, you'll be able to:
- Craft just the right language to enable your voicebot to effectively communicate with humans
- Create conversational voice interfaces that are robust enough to handle errors and failures
- Design highly usable conversational voice interfaces by paying attention to small details that can make or break the experience
- Build a design for a voice-only smart speaker that doesn't require customers to use their eyes or hands


Aantal pagina's:150
Hoofdrubriek:IT-management / ICT


Who Should Read This Book?
Why We Wrote This Book
Navigating This Book
O’Reilly Online Learning
How to Contact Us

1. Why Voice First
Minimal Effort

2. When Voice First
User State
Physical State
Some Scenarios
Scenario 1
Scenario 2
Scenario 3

3. Why Voice First Automation
Reduce Costs
Handle Spikes
Increase Customer Satisfaction
Increase Agent Satisfaction
Increase Revenue
Enable Personalization
Facilitate Task Completion
Secure Privacy
Increase Security

4. The Three Core Characteristics of the VUI
Time Linearity

5. The Elements of Conversation
The Ontology of Conversations
The Conversational Actions
The Conversational States
The Internal Conversational Context
Conversational Signaling
Signaling States
Signaling Transitions

6. The Rules of Conversation
The Cooperative Principle
The Maxim of Quality
The Maxim of Quantity
The Maxim of Relevance
The Maxim of Manner

7. The Basic Tenets
The Voicebot Is Not a Human
The Voicebot Should Be as Smart as the Data It Has—and No More!
The Voicebot Should Be Consistent
The Voicebot Should Be Transparent
The Voicebot Should Behave Respectfully

8. The Extra-Conversational Context
The State of the User
Emotional State
Linguistic Competence
Level of Familiarity
Technical Savviness
Physical Readiness
Task-Relevant Properties
The Physical Context
The Social Context
The Recent Context
User Patterns
User-Base Patterns

9. The UI Use Case Fit
An Illustrative Use Case
Basic Heuristics
10. The Elements of Starting
Be Brief
Use an Audio Icon
Drop the “Welcome to…”
Never Ever Say, “Please Listen Carefully as Our Options Have Changed”
Have the Voicebot Refer to Itself in the First Person
Drop “You Can Interrupt Me at Any Time”
Keep the Origination Context in Mind
Remember the User’s Preferences
Anticipate User-Specific Requests
Anticipate General User-Base Requests

11. The Elements of Prompting
Prompt Types
Writing Effective Prompts
Use Language That Is Commonly Used in Conversations
Remember That the User Will Mimic the Voicebot
Unless It’s Essential to the Use Case, Don’t Use Slang or Jargon
Put the Most Important Information First
Use Want Instead of Wish
Avoid Using Speak
Use Contractions
Be Consistent in Your Wording
Avoid Mixing Recorded and TTS Speech
It’s OK for a Sentence to End in a Preposition
Avoid Using Whom
Minimize the Use of Please
Use Incremental Prompts When Dealing with Expert Users
Use Tapering Prompts to Minimize on Wordy Repetitions
Request an Explicit Confirmation Only When Necessary

12. Choices
Present the Most Requested Items First
Keep the Menu List to Three Items or Less
Keep the Menu Depth to Three Levels or Less
Avoid the Construction of “for/to X, Say X; for/to Y, Say Y; for/to Z, Say Z”
Don’t Use, “Please Select from the Following Options”
Use the Same Part of Speech/Clausal Form When Listing Menu Options
Let Users Ask, “What Are My Choices?”
Let Users “Climb Back” the Menu
Offer to Repeat the Menu Options After a 3-Second Pause
Turn on Barge-In for Expert Users
Include and Teach Shortcuts

13. Managing Failure
Types of Failure
System Failure
Causes of Failure
Best Practices
Always Have the Voicebot Take the Blame
Give the User Three Chances
Offer Explicit Examples of How to Respond
Be Careful When You Reprompt
Establish “Safety Points”
Never Terminate a Conversation Unilaterally—Especially During Recovery
Don’t Be Repetitive During Recovery
Orient the User About Where They Are
Give the User Information About the Issue
Do Not Be Overly Apologetic

14. Help Strategies
Tell the User That Help Is Available
Detect When the User Needs Help
Structure Your Help
Mention the Basic Task the Voicebot Is Trying to Solve
Offer Help to the Most Frequently Encountered Problems First
Return from Where You Left Off After Giving Help
Be Concise and Specific with Your Help
Use Context to Guide Your Explanations
Illustrate Your Explanations with Examples
Offer Help Only When It Is Needed

15. Verbal Dialogue Marking
Acknowledge Receipt of Information
Announce That the User Is About to Receive Some Information
Mark Sequences
Mark the Beginning and End of a Section
Mark Failures
Show Light at the End of the Tunnel
Indicate Implicitly That the Voicebot Still Owns the Turn
Tell the User Explicitly That They Are Being Placed on Hold
Don’t Repeat the Same Marker Twice in a Row
Pay Attention to the Markers After a Failure Strategy

16. Nonverbal Dialogue Marking
Types of Nonverbal Audio
Opening the Dialogue
Signaling That It’s the User’s Turn to Speak
Signaling That the Voicebot Is Busy Doing Something and Is Holding the Turn
Waiting for the User to Give an Answer
After a No-Input
Announcing a List of Choices
Entering a New Section
Marking Transition from One List Item to the Next
Announcing Help
Ending the Conversation

17. Language Design
On “Naturalness”
Key Terms
Designing an Effective Language Model
Clearly Define the Problems That Your Voicebot Can Help the User With
Communicate Why the Voicebot Exists and What It Can Help the User Do Outside of the Voicebot
Spend Time Building a Clean Ontology
Do Not Design Your Language from the Armchair
Go Explicit When Recovering from a Language Error

18. On Silence
Prior to Listing Options
Between Options in a Menu List
Between Categories of Options
When Interacting with Power Users
After Echoing
Before and After TTS Prompts

19. The Elements of Closing
Allow the Users to Explicitly End the Dialogue
Allow the User to Request a Human
When the User Has to Wait, Provide a Waiting Time Estimate
Provide the Option to Cancel a Transfer to a Human
Keep the “While-You-Wait” Audio Relevant
Understand the User’s State of Mind When You Play the “While-You-Wait” Audio
Never Say, “Your Call Is Important to Us”
Don’t Make the User Repeat to the Human Information They Provided to the Voicebot
Make the Human Agent Aware That the Customer Was Interacting with the Voicebot
Avoid Transferring Users from One Voicebot to Another
Don’t Play Phone Rings Unless You Are Transferring Directly to a Human
Reassure Users of Success
Don’t Provide Any Crucial New Information
Give the User a Quick Tip
Offer to Reach Back

20. Voice First Notifications
Fundamental Considerations
Key Notification Attributes
Notification Urgency
Notification Content
Delivery Context
Key Form Factors
Far-Field Voice
Near-Field Voice
In-Ear Voice
Some Best Practices
Be Mindful of the Receiver’s Time Zone
Provide Some Context
Cut to the Chase
Repeat the Important Information
Provide the User with a Way to Get More Details
Some Scenarios
Scenario 1
Scenario 2
Scenario 3

21. Laying Out the Foundations
Bring Together All the Key Players
Define the Business Goals
Define User Needs and Intent
Identify User Tasks
Identify Usage Patterns
Define the Voicebot’s Voice Register

22. The Key to Successful Product Launches
Write Everything Out in Full Sentences
Your Press Release Needs to Be Crystal Clear
Your Answers Are Given in One or Two Paragraphs at Most, and Not Much More
Answer the Basic Questions First
Describe Clearly the Research You Have Done
Be Modest and Cautious in Your Claims and Statements
Make Your Document Readable by Everyone
List the Functional Requirements in Terms of What the User Can Do
Describe the Intended Minimum Viable Product (MVP) in Detail

23. The Elements of Deployment
Product Management
Product Marketing
UX Research
UX Design
Quality Engineering
Functional Testing
Traversal Testing
Stress Testing
Beta Testing
Program Management

24. Post-Launch Monitoring
Sources of Information
Interaction Logs
The Audio of the Interactions
End Users
The Basic Questions
Where Are Users Abandoning the Session?
Where Are Users Asking to Be Connected to a Human Agent?
Where Are Users Saying the Wrong Things?
Where Are Users Not Saying Anything?
Where Are Users Speaking Too Soon?
What Is the Noise Level of Your User’s Environment?
What Options Are Your Users Asking For?
How Are Users Feeling About the Voicebot?

25. The Elements of Voice First Success
Abandonment Rate
Automation Rate
Average Number of Failures per Session
Average Number of Failures per Task
Average Task Completion Time
Containment Rate
First-Use Resolution Rate
Task Completion Rate
Task Initiation Rate
Time to Task

26. Coda

A. The 10 Sources of Voice First Failures!
B. Demonstrating Voice First
C. Useful Matrices

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        The Elements of Voice First Style