For developers, designers, and managers who have worked on conventional web user interfaces, voice UI can be a foreign discipline. Voice bots like Amazon’s Alexa have become compelling platforms for bot creators, but translating functionality into verbal exchanges can be extraordinarily difficult. We’ve invited Cathy Pearl, an authority on VUI design and the author of O’Reilly’s Designing Voice User Interfaces, to give an overview of VUI design. It’s a practice that will become an essential part of any bot creator’s toolkit, especially as APIs for Siri, Cortana, and Google Now become available.
Cathy Pearl is director of user experience at Sensely, whose virtual nurse avatar, Molly, helps people engage with their health. Cathy has more than 15 years of experience designing user interfaces and has worked on everything from helicopter pilot simulators at NASA to a conversational iPad app in which Esquire magazine’s style columnist tells you what you should wear on a first date. During her time at Nuance and Microsoft, Cathy designed voice user interfaces for banks, airlines, healthcare companies, and Ford SYNC. She is the author of the upcoming O’Reilly book Designing Voice User Interfaces. Cathy holds a BS in cognitive science from UCSD and an MS in computer science from Indiana University.
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