We recently finished 12-week project at a major tourism organization. One of the goals of the project was for the innovation team to learn skills on how to experiment with emerging voice technology and use these skills to test and develop a new proposition.

Here are some of the most valuable insights that were gained experimenting with voice technology:
- Test early and often with real users. You don’t have to know everything to start experimenting. After our first week we started our first experiment! Get to know your customer and know where to find them. We also used existing (voice) apps to validate our first assumptions.

- Don’t expect high user rates right away. Keep in mind that voice technology is still in development. In 2018, the Google Home was introduced in the Netherlands and also, the Dutch-speaking Google Assistant was launched. Consequently, the Dutch consumer is still in the early stages of adopting voice as an interface. The expectation is that the adoption will continue to grow in 2019.

- Give birth to your voice persona. Think carefully about how your assistant should come across in relation to your brand, values and audience. A voice application has a personality; much more than a website or mobile app. It is important that the persona reflects the job of the assistant; think of a name, tone of voice, personality trades, and relationship to the user.

- Keep it simple. Spend a lot of time designing a relevant, simple use case. Our focus was to create a WOW-moment for the end user, in which voice can make the difference in the customer experience. It took us a few approaches to find a first version that increased value by adding a personal and fun element to a particular part of the customer journey.

- Voice requires a different kind of interaction. We quickly discovered the difference in interaction with other digital applications. Simply translating the interaction design of mobile apps and websites directly into a voice interface is not an option. With voice the aim is to create a natural dialogue with a device. You will have to try to force the right questions and answers from the end user in a smart way. "Where are you going on a holiday?” versus "To which country are you travelling?" is a good example of guiding the answer of the end user.

- Start small, fail fast. To stay focused, begin with a small voice application and make sure that with several small iterations you learn within a few weeks in which situations voice adds value to the end user. Don’t get discouraged when you don’t see the results you hoped for. Go back to the drawing table, map out your assumptions and start experimenting again!

- Voice needs commitment. Realize that voice will impact existing business processes if you are aiming for a good user experience. Try to base your first voice application on existing APIs in order to be able to quickly generate results and not create too many dependencies. Also keep in mind that new APIs may be required if you are serious about working with voice.

Are you interested in experimenting with new technologies, or want to talk voice? Hit us up!

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