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Hello, computer. Approaches to designing speech-based user experiences

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posted on 07.12.2021, 09:55 by Schultz, Stefan

The burgeoning field of speech–based user interfaces, pushed heavily by most major technology vendors, including Google (with Assistant), Apple (Siri), Amazon (Alexa), and Microsoft (Cortana), presents a new challenge in designing end user experiences; one where we cannot rely on there being a visual element at all. With the individual interests of the vendors, we have seen a growth of very distinct guidelines and platforms, resulting in a lack of consistency across the field. There is an opportunity to consider these platforms and this modality of interaction, and how we can design for it more generally.  By reviewing the current array of literature on voice and conversational user interfaces, as well as general speech and user interface metaphors, an understand- ing and framing for the potential of this field is to be achieved. The different core vendors and their corporate attitudes and business goals are examined to find issues that may affect building for them. Thematic analysis of the current vendor and platform-specific guidelines (such as Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines) will allow for determining important commonalities, feeding the creation of a set of voice-focused usability heuristics to evaluate these designs. Finally, the broader research is distilled into a systematic approach for designing speech–based experiences. Technical case study work is informed, and reciprocally informs this approach, ensuring it works in practice.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Design Innovation

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Design


Langelaar, Walter