Tips & Tricks for Designing Voice UI

Voice user interface (VUI) has entered the spotlight, embedding itself in our televisions, phones, smart devices, and other tech marvels. Companies like Alibaba’s and Google are spearheading the revolution— their humanlike voice assistant is servicing millions of customers every day.

This wave of innovation is propelled by tech advancements and another strong push for VUI comes from users.  They are readily embracing voice search (it already accounts for 20% of all internet queries). As for web developers, this can only mean one thing: it is high time to tap into the future of human-computer interaction.

A paradigm shift

The interface is a medium through which humans interact with technology.

We presume that all interfaces are screen-based and digital, yet we have been proven wrong. A voice-powered interface is here to stay and reshape the way we even perceive technology. It represents a highly intuitive, natural, and convenient mode of manipulation. Thus, there is no learning curve associated with it.

However, we have to be aware that the conversational interface also radically differs from the graphical user interface (GUI), which is still the hallmark of most digital products in the market. The former revolves around communicating rather than manually controlling the technology. This seismic shift brings forth a mix of amazing opportunities and tough challenges.

To navigate this complex maze, we need to pursue three main principles of good VUI:

1.     Orientation toward problem solving

First off, the conversational interface is supposed to facilitate desired outcomes, results that match user expectations.

To make it happen, we use contextually driven flows and Process of Doing (POD). The main problem they solve is the fact that unlike GUI, voice-powered interfaces do not display concrete options one can choose from. It is much more open-ended and users can only base their expectations on prior experience with (human) conversations.

Therefore, one must always design with user intent in mind. This approach to design decreases the guesswork: it gives people an idea where they are and makes it clear what happens next. POD is particularly important because it makes up for the lack of direct user insight into how the system actually processes requests.

2.     Users are in control

Along the similar lines, it is crucial to allow users to be in full control and stay in-the-know.

A great way to do this is to define visual and audio cues that serve as interaction feedback. These cues usually kick in right on user input and can take various shapes and forms. One of the most common feedback indications are those that let users know the system is listening— Amazon’s Alexa uses ingenious blue lights at the top rim for this.

Furthermore, a solid error-recovery strategy plays a vital role. 

In other words, VUI designers have to anticipate points of friction in UX. These can be system not having an answer, giving too much information, not recognizing slang, or failing to provide a suitable solution to the problem. To avoid these hurdles, encourage users to express their wants and needs in a way that the system can understand.

3.     Adding value by conserving resources

This brings us to the third major goal— saving user’s time and energy.

After all, it is the whole point of a voice-enabled interface.  What this means is that designers should strive to minimize cognitive load linked to VUI manipulation: a truly great VUI reduces the amount of effort needed to perform basic actions. So, if a system responds in convoluted sentences or out of the context, then we call that a bad interface.

It is much easier for users to grasp responses that are streamlined, direct, and non-ambiguous. That is whybest mobile app development companiesput their focus oncrafting a highly functional and user-friendly VUI. They are aware users prefer to smoothly navigate the interface and find the information they need in the shortest timeframe possible.

Delivering the finishing touches

The starting and end point of designing is user experience (UX).

What many designers overlook is that this quality is rooted in fundamental principles that govern human communication. This overarching truth reflects the situated and context-bound nature of the interaction, but this time around, we are working without any visual guidance, aren’t we?

Well, instead of fretting, we must summon one key ingredient and that is personality. Modern users are put off by VOI that comes across as too robotic. Voice is associated with talking with people, not interacting with technology. So, we have to find ways to infuse warm human touch into the interface.

This may involve a unique voice and personality for the voice-activated product. Ideally, that voice resonates with the target audience and echoes brand values, mission, and culture.


VUI is no longer some optional addition to a GUI— it is changing the way we interact with computers.  Therefore, it is a good idea to join in on the trend. Start by researching on how people naturally communicate and predict a set of goals they want to accomplish.


Based on the insights, put together a well-designed contextual interface and provide clear feedback without overwhelming people. Your top priorities should be to provide impeccable UX, inspire trust, and add value to users’ lives. This is your chance to get ahead of the game.  

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