4 Ways to Get to the Best Wireframe You’ve Ever Heard

The stakes are high for getting voice design right.

By 2020, it’s estimated that 50 percent of all searches will be voice. There’s no denying its power.

Even though voice user interfaces (VUIs) have been around for a while, designing for them is still relatively new. And they’re quickly becoming the next frontier.

Clive K. Lavery hit on some best practices for voice design in his Adobe MAX session, “That’s the best wireframe I’ve ever heard.”

As voice-first apps and experiences become the new norm, designers need to shift their thinking to the future of voice: multimodal. These voice-enabled interfaces incorporate images, icons, and other interactive content.

Moving from “don’t make me think” to “don’t make me tap”

The biggest challenge around voice design is that it’s changing all the time. The design principles and best practices are still being written. And most of the current tools are still grounded in visual design.

Clive, who is a member of the XDI Team, emphasized the importance of making the shift from #voiceonly to #voicefirst. And it’s really about shifting your UX perspective from “don’t make me think” to “don’t make me tap.”

Here are four best practices of-the-moment for getting to a more intuitive voice experience:

Image source: Adobe Stock / Bruce and Rebecca Meissner/Stocksy.

1. Document and test, early and often. It sounds tedious, but writing dialogues and documenting each interaction will help you narrow down options for maximum clarity. You can boost simplicity by keeping language as direct as possible. Consider native language speakers and steer clear of jargon, idioms, and contractions. Become hyperaware of any ambiguities that might stump the voice sensors.

2. Reduce friction by getting to the point. When it comes to ease of use with voice interfaces, there’s clearly room for improvement: 72 percent of users agree they don’t know how to use all of their smart speaker’s features — and that’s saying something. Make tasks easier by keeping options brief and to the point. Amazon’s recommendation is to offer users no more than three choices at any given time.

3. Set clear expectations (and then meet them). Talking to a device instead of a person doesn’t change our expectations when it comes to conversational responses. Consider a typical conversation flow for each scenario. What types of questions will the user ask? What types of responses provide the most useful, relevant information in the most concise way? You can guide the user by providing examples of what they can do to avoid unexpected questions and frustration.

4. Think multimodal. This is really just an extension of what we already experience on our smartphones and wearables, but with an added layer of design complexity. And, like Clive, many have identified it as the future of voice design. Users will make the same requests they would with a voice-first smart speaker, but the response will comprise both voice and visual elements.

Keep it fresh: Surprise and delight users

The best voice experiences are the most fun. Sure, they deploy the most clear and direct way to communicate to users on what they can do and how they can do it — but that clarity doesn’t have to be boring.

Keep content fresh with the goal of surprising and delighting the user with the unexpected. Fun interactions make for a better user experience.

Be sure to explore the latest voice capabilities just announced for Adobe XD. New voice triggers and speech playback updates are designed to bring screen and voice prototyping together into one intuitive design environment.

Whether you’re adding voice to an existing product or creating a new voice-first design, you can still follow the same path to a great experience: design, prototype, and share.