DiscoverVUX WorldEmotional intelligence with Sina Kahen
Emotional intelligence with Sina Kahen

Emotional intelligence with Sina Kahen

Update: 2018-12-17


This week, we're joined by VAICE co-founder, Sina Kahen to discuss the importance of emotional intelligence and how you can design EQ into your voice experiences using the 6 'First date' principles.

Where to listen

Apple podcasts










Our guest

Sina Kahen is an Imperial College MBA student working in the biotechnology and voice technology industries. He is currently co-founder and product manager at VAICE, a pro-bono consulting group that helps brands discover the benefits of voice and conversational AI, from strategy to experience. His recent work involves identifying the challenges presented after the recent wave of voice technology, and aiming to solve them with his understanding of behavioural science, biomimicry, and philosophy.


Visit the VAICE website

Connect with Sina on LinkedIn

Follow Sina on Instagram

Convenience-First: Bursting the Voice-First Bubble

Wired for Speech

Wally Brill on persona design

In Channel
How we made Hidden Cities Berlin with Nicky Birch, Michelle Feuerlicht and Nigel James Brown
In this episode, we take a deep dive into the creation of the world's first voice-first interactive documentary: Hidden Cities Berlin for Google Assistant. The action is part of a collaboration between Google and the Financial Times and was created by Rosina Sound and Reduced Listening.We're joined by the people behind the action, founder of Ronsina sound, Nicky Birch; interactive and immersive producer and BAFTA-winner, Michelle Feuerlicht; and audio software engineer, programmer, two-time BAFTA winner and all-round audio veteran, Nigel James Brown.Together, the dream team take us through the creation process of Hidden Cities Berlin. We discuss the brief, the ideation and creation process, the design considerations and the technical build.In this podcast, you'll learn about:Considerations for creating long-form, rich interactive audio contentThe challenges of creating interactive narrative as opposed to linear narrativeStorytelling with empathyDocumenting design and the 'pearl necklace' approachWhy you should consider having two narratorsWhen to give users a choice and whyClustering intents around one areaSome limitations of Dialogue Flow when working with audioHow to start with an Alpha and what to includePersonalising experiences based on previous session behaviourAnd much more (obviously)Where to listenApple podcastsSpotifyYouTubeCastBoxSpreakerTuneInBreakerStitcherPlayerFMiHeartRadioLinksVisit the Rosina Sound websiteContact Nicky: nicky@rosina.ioSay 'Hey Google, speak to Hidden Cities Berlin' 
All about voice content management and localisation with Milkana Brace and Jonathan Burstein
Today, we're discussing why you should separate voice app content from your code and logic with Jargon founders, Milkana Brace (CEO) and Jonathan Burstein (CTO).Where to listenApple podcastsSpotifyYouTubeCastBoxSpreakerTuneInBreakerStitcherPlayerFMiHeartRadioJargonSeparating content from code is a practice that not only makes it easier to manage your VUX in general, but also paves the way for internationalising your Alexa Skill or Google Assisntant Action for other countries. Jargon's SDK does the former (separating code from content) and their transcreation services do the latter (internationalise your skill or action for other languages.Internationalising Alexa Skills and Google Assistant Actions: the land grabThis January, Google announced that Google Assistant will be available on over 1 billion devices. Amazon report to have now sold over 100 million Echo devices. Yet, 90% of all smart speaker activity is conducted in English. That's despite Alexa having a decent presence across Europe, Asia and South America, and Google Assistant being available globally.Jargon's theory: not enough people are internationalising their Alexa Skills or Google Assistant Actions. And, because there isn't as many Skills and Actions in other languages, the prizes available for those who do transcreate their VUX are there for the taking.In this episode, we take a deep dive into both and explain the benefits of managing content independently from code, as well as discuss the land grab available right now if you internationalise your Skill or Action. Oh, and how to do it!LinksVisit jargon.comRead Jargon's posts on MediumFollow @jargonjourney on TwitterFollow Jargon on LinkedInCheck out @jargonjourney on InstagramDownload the Jargon SDK: out the Dabble Labs videos on YouTube
VUI design best practice for kids Alexa skills with the BBC's Paul Jackson
We're honoured to be joined by Paul Jackson, Senior Designer at the BBC, to discuss how the Beeb are approaching VUI design, with a particular focus on designing Alexa Skills for kids.Where to listenApple podcastsSpotifyYouTubeCastBoxSpreakerTuneInBreakerStitcherPlayerFMiHeartRadioVUI design for kidsThe BBC is killing it in voice right now. It's one of the only companies with a full in-house voice and AI team and it consists of tens of people. It's investing heavily on what it believes is the future of content. This week, we're lucky enough to step inside the BBC and see how it's approaching voice design.We speak to Senior Designer on the Voice and AI team, Paul Jackson, about his experience in creating the CBeebies Alexa Skill and how you can apply the learnings to your voice user experiences, regardless of whether you're creating for kids or not.We discuss:The make-up of the BBC's Voice and AI teamHow the BBC are thinking about and approaching voiceThe challenges of Natural Language Understanding with kidsUser research findings from testing skills with kidsTranslating real-world insights into mimicked voice experiencesBest practice for designing VUI experiences for kidsSome of the BBC's 12 principles of designing for voiceLimiting options and choiceBalancing discovery and choiceThe use of sound, audio and recording with talentThe implementation approach and skills within skillsRelease cycles and continuous improvementThe whole episode is littered with clips from the CBeebies Alexa Skill as we move through the conversation and highlight examples of design thinking and how it translates to the end-result.This one is not to be missed.LinksFollow the BBC UXD team on Twitterand InstagramFollow Paul on Twitter and InstagramEnable the CBeebies skillHead to Mobile UX LondonEnquire about the Designing for Voice Course(mention VUX World to save 10%)
The latest in voice SEO and discoverability with John Campbell
Discussing the latest insights and research in voice SEO and showing you how you can get discovered on Google Assistant, with the MD of Rabbit and Pork, John Campbell.Where to listenApple podcastsSpotifyYouTubeCastBoxSpreakerTuneInBreakerStitcherPlayerFMiHeartRadioVoice SEOVoice SEO is a roaring-hot topic. All the top marketing and business publications have been writing about the importance of voice searchall year. But, little has been documented on how to actually do anything about it. Until now.John Campbell is the Head of SEO at Roast, London, and has more recently become the founder and MD of a new voice agency, Rabbit and Pork.John's experience in the SEO field is serving him ideally in breaking into the voice assistant space. Through using traditional SEO tools and techniques, John has been experimenting with ways in which brands can be found on voice assistants, and he joins us this week to share what he's learned recently.It'll blow your mind.In this episodeIn this episode, you'll learn some practical tips on what you can do to have your content found on Google Assistant. Using the latest research, data and insights, John takes us through some of the work he's been doing recently and shares the results he's been achieving.Amongst other things, we discuss:Implicit invocationsWhat they are and how they're usedThe benefits of being the implicitly inovocated action, including gaining search volume data and keeping people engagedHow past advice on the web is a little out datedDeveloping a strategy for your own business/skillHow to set up implicit invocations on Google Assistant and Amazon AlexaWhat results can you expect?What the future could hold with implicit invocation rankingHow to find key phrases that people might be voice searchingWe discuss Roast's studies of 10,000 key phrases and discuss the trends in how Google Assistant serves results, including starting to rank actions in search results and serve them as a higher priority that featured snippets. The graph below, for example, shows how, prior to an action existing, Google Assistant wasn't serving a search result at all. Once the action was launched, Google Assistant started sending people to the action, rather than serving nothing.We discuss how you can spot these opportunities and create an action where there isn't currently a Google Assistant search result.Explicit invocationsWhat it is and how it's usedHow you can promote your action or skill, including how to target specific Alexa or Google Assistant owners in online adsHow to measure the success of promotional activityWe also discuss the future of voice SEO and where it's all heading, including skill-to-skill connections and much, much more.LinksVisit the Roast websiteRabbit and Pork website (coming soon)Follow Rabbit and Pork on TwitterFollow John Campbell on Twitter Follow Roast on TwitterCheck out the latest Voice SEO report from Roast
Learn the art of conversation design with Hans Van Dam
A deep dive into the three pillars of conversation design: psychology, technology and creative writing, with Robocopy's Hans Van Dam.Where to listenApple podcastsSpotifyYouTubeCastBoxSpreakerTuneInBreakerStitcherPlayerFMiHeartRadioConversation designConversation design is more than simply putting some words on a page and hoping for the best. The assembly of words is only part of the job of a conversation designer.To design natural conversations that mimic what we're accustomed to having with our fellow homo sapiens, it takes an understanding of the three pillars: psychology, technology and writing.In this episodeThis week, we're joined by Hans Van Dam, founder of conversation design agency, Robocopy, and creator of top conversation design training program,, to be taken through the details of what it takes to design great conversational experiences.Hans takes us through:Why understanding the technology is important. Human and computer brains are different. Appreciating what's different and the constraints you're operating in will help you work within your limits and get the most of of your conversation.Why psychology is key. We discuss things like anchoring, framing, social proof and plenty more psychological tools that can help you improve the user experience and success of your conversations.Why copywriting is all you have and how to make the most of it. We've covered how writing for the screen is different to writing for the ear in our conversation with Oren Jacob of Pullstring. We take that concept further in this episode and discuss some of the mistakes brands make when designing conversation, as well as who should be designing them.We also get into detail on things like the importance persona design, measuring success and a whole host more.LinksVisit the Robocopy websiteCheck out the Conversational AcademyFollow Hans on TwitterNudge by Case Sustein and Richard Thaler on AmazonKurt Vonnegut’s 8 Rules for Writing Fiction  
The Rundown 003: Increased engagement, Alexa room bookings, skill-to-skill connections, Google Assistant payments and more
Translating the recent happenings in voice news into insights and recommendations for designers, developers and brands. As ever, lots has been occurring recently. In this episode of the rundown, we discuss:The state of voice assistants by Adobe and how we're seeing increased usage in the 'third category'. That is, people are using more in-depth functionality on their voice assistants. That opens doors for richer voice experiences and suggests that customers can handle more complex, transactional interactions.The picture of voice shopping - thanks to Charlie Cadburyfor sharing - and how voice is being used, not just for making transactions, but throughout the purchase journey and after sales as well. This looks at voice commerce in a more broader setting and shows that there's opportunities for brands in and around the shopping experience, not just at the transactional end.Alexa for business room booking and whether the productivity gain will be worth climbing into bed with Amazon.Skill to skill connections and the potential for joining together voice experiences. Whether that'll take-off and whether there'll be opportunities for paid referrals within skills.AVS for Set-Top-Boxes which will allow set-top-box manufacturers to add Alexa to their devices. Another nod to a multi-modal future.Google Home hub launches without a camera and is yet another sign and the screen and voice will play a joint role in the home.Google rolls out payments for Assistant that lets brands and developers offer digital goods for sale on a one time or subscription basis. Monetisation is creeping upon us and with that comes opportunities for those who can find the right voice experience that's worth paying for.Google Sign-in for Assistant which lets customers sign in to third party actions via their Google account. This is the voice equivalent of the 'sign in with Google' or 'sign in with Facebook' that we see on websites and is a great friction-stripping step for voice.Facebook announce Portal and whether it'll ever catch on.If you have a news story you'd like us to cover in the next episode of the Rundown, or if you have a question you'd like Kane and Dustin to answer, hit us up on Twitter, Instagramor get in touch.
VUI design best practice from user testing with 120 brands, with Abhishek Suthan and Dylan Zwick
Pulse Labs founders, Abhishek Suthan and Dylan Zwick share their advice on VUI design best practice that they've learned from conducting voice first usability testing with over 120 brands.Where to listenApple podcastsSpotifyYouTubeCastBoxSpreakerTuneInBreakerStitcherPlayerFMiHeartRadioThe search for VUI design best practiceIn web design, there are standards. Common design patterns and best practice that you'll find on most websites and apps.The burger menu, call to action buttons, a search bar at the top of the page. These have all been tried and tested and are par for the course on most websites.In voice, that best practice is still to be worked out. And today's guests have begun to uncover it.Pulse Labs is a voice first usability testing company. They conduct global remote user research by testing voice experiences for brands. Think of it almost like, but specifically for voice.After working with over 120 brands, the founders; Abhishek Suthan and Dylan Zwick, have stumbled upon some of the most common mistakes that designers and developers make in their Google Assistant Actions and Alexa Skills.Through design iterations and further testing, they've worked out what some of that best practice looks like.In this episodeOver the course of this episode, we hear from Abhishek and Dylan about some of the most common mistakes designers make when it comes to voice user experience design.We discuss how these issues can be fixed, as well as further best practice when designing for voice, including:How to architect your voice app and design flat menusHow to handle errors and recover from failureFraming experiences and handling expectationsWhen to apply confirmations and when to make assumptionsAnd a whole host moreThis episode is one to listen to again and again. No doubt the standards will change as and when the tech advances and usage grows, but for now, this is probably the best start there is in defining best practice in voice.LinksVisit the Pulse Labs websiteEmail Dylan ZwickFollow Pulse Labs on TwitterFollow Dylan on TwitterFollow Pulse Labs on FacebookFollow Pulse Labs on LinkedIn 
The Rundown 002: Big news from Alexa as Google Home Mini becomes top selling smart speaker... and more
It's been a busy few weeks with both of the top two voice assistant platforms announcing new devices and software improvements, but what does it all mean for brands, designers and developers?Google Home Mini becomes top selling smart speakerThat's right, the Google Home Mini smart speaker outsold all other smart speakers in Q2.Google's intense advertising over the summer months looks like it could be starting to pay off. It still isn't the market leader. Amazon still holds that spot, for now.Takeaway:At the beginning of this year, Google Assistant was a nice-to-have feature in your voice strategy. Google's progress over the summer and the recent sales of the Google Home Mini now mean that obtaining a presence on Google Assistant is unavoidable for brands looking to make serious play in this space.We discuss whether you should use a tool like Jovo for developing cross-platform voice experiencesor whether you should build natively.Dustin's pro tip:If you need access to new feature updates as and when they're released, you should build natively. If you're happy to wait, use something like Jovo.Google rumoured to be launching the Google Home HubIt's rumoured that Google will be releasing a smart display to rival the Amazon Echo Show.In the podcast, we said that this will go on sale in October. That's not the case. The actual sale date hasn't been announced yet.Takeaway:With more voice assistants bringing screens into the equation, designing and developing multi modal experiences is going to be an increasing area of opportunity over the next year.Google becomes multi-lingualGoogle announced multi-lingual support for Google Assistant. That means that you can speak to the Assistant in a different language and have it respond back to you in that language without having to change the language settings. This is a great feature for households that speak more than one language.Takeaway:Although this might not be widely used initially, this is a great step forward in providing a frictionless user experience for those who speak more than one language. For brands, this brings the necessity to internationalise your voice experiences closer to home.Check out the podcast we did with Maaike Dufour to learn more about how to transcreate and internationalise your voice experience.Amazon announces about a million Alexa devicesAmazon announced a whole host of Alexa enabled deviceslast week, including:Echo Dot V2 and Echo Plus V2A new Echo Show (with a 10 inch screen)Echo Auto (for the car)Echo Sub (a subwoofer)Fire TV Recast (a TV set top box)An Alexa-injected microwaveA clock, with Alexa built inEcho Input (turns any speaker into a smart speaker)A Ring security cameraA smart plugAn ampTakeaway:These new devices, whether they succeed or fail, present opportunities for brands, designers and developers in that they provide an insight into a user's context. That can help you shape an experience based around that context.For example, you can now target commuters with long form audio through Alexa while they're driving. You can provide micro engagement through Alexa while your customer is cooking their rice.This could be the beginnings of the 'Alexa Everywhere' movement, which will be laden with opportunities for those who seek to understand where users are and what they're seeking to achieve at that time.Alexa Presentation LanguageThe Alexa Presentation Languageallows you to design and develop custom visuals to enhance your user's screen-accompanying Alexa experience.Until now, if you wanted to serve visuals on an Echo Spot or Echo Show, you'd have to use one of 7 design templates. This announcement means that you can create your own designs and even do things like sync visual transitions with audio and, in future, there'll be support for video and HTML 5.Takeaway:As with many of the items in this week's Rundown, there's an increasing emphasis on multi-modal experiences. Over the next year or so, expect more voice + screen devices. This will mean that you'll need to start thinking about how you can add value through visuals as part of your offering.Kane's pro tip:Even though there are more options for voice + screen, still focus on creating voice-first experiences. Don't let the screen take over. Lead with voice and supplement or enhance with visuals.Alexa smart screen and TV device SDKThis announcementenables device manufacturers to create hardware with a screen that runs Alexa. For example, Amazon will announce the details of how Sony have used the SDK to add Alexa capability to their TVs.Takeaway:For hardware brands, you can now add Alexa to your products. For the rest of us, watch this space. This is yet further evidence to suggest that voice + screen experiences are going to be something users come to expect in future.Introducing the Alexa Connect Kit (ACK)ACK allows device manufacturers to add Alexa to their hardwarewithout having to worry about creating a skill or managing cloud services or security.Essentially, you can add an ACK module to your device, connect it to your micro controller and hey presto, you have an Alexa enabled device.It's the same thing Amazon used to build their new microwave.Takeaway:Another opportunity for hardware brands to add value to your product line and another signal that Alexa will potentially be spreading further and wider. If you haven't thought about how this might impact your business and the opportunities you might find in future, this is a good time to start that thought process.Two final Alexa announcements:Whisper mode, which enables a user to whisper at Alexa and it'll whisper back.Hunch, which is Alexa's first move to become proactive in suggesting things you might want to do based on previous behaviour.Takeaway:In unclear whether either of these things require developers to markup their skills for this in any way or whether Alexa will take care of everything for you.Finally, BixbyBixby will be opening up for public Beta in November after a few months in private beta.There was a webinar this week, exclusive to the private beta members, which included a host of announcements. I'm still trying to get hold of the webinar or someone who can shed some light on it and we'll try and bring you further news on this on the next Rundown.
All about Snips with Yann Lachelle
This week, we're speaking to serial entrepreneur, Yann Lachelle, COO at Snips, about the privacy by design alternative to Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.Privacy is a hot topic. With the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the introduction of GDPR in Europe, people are becoming more aware and more concerned with how companies are using their data.On the enterprise-side, one of the challenges preventing companies from implementing voice is the apprehension towards sending sensitive data to Amazon or Google.Enter, SnipsThe Paris-based startup is bringing a privacy-first approach to their voice assistant. We speak to Snips' COO Yann Lachelle about the details and how you can use itIn this episodes, we discuss:What Snips is and its position in the marketWhy privacy is a concern for consumers and companiesSnips' approach to voice and privacyEdge computing and how Snips is tackling securityOpen sourcing the backend of the Snips assistantBlockchain and decentralising the voice ecosystemOur guestYann Lachelle is a serial entrepreneur. He's founded and sold several companies and has a 100% record of founding and exiting. Yann's experience in the startup world is vast and his knowledge on AI and the voice industry is more than impressive.As COO of Snips, Yann is helping Snips make technology disappear by bringing to market the world's first privacy-by-design voice assistant.Yann brings us some inspiring stories, intensely relevant insights and plenty of observations that'll help you get a full understanding of what Snips can offer you or your clients.Where to listenApple podcastsSpotifyYouTubeCastBoxSpreakerTuneInBreakerStitcherPlayerFMiHeartRadioLinksVisit the Snips websiteTry Snips for developersJoin the Snips community on DiscordCheck out Snips' whitepaper explaining the details of their blockchain ambitionsFind out more about Snips and blockchain 
The Rundown 001: Alexa settings API, 5 Google Assistant tips and more
We're starting a new feature on VUX World: The Run Down. Dustin Coates and I are getting together each week (or bi-weekly) to discuss the recent happenings in the voice space and how that'll impact designers, developers and brands.Alexa settings APIWe're starting off by discussing the Amazon Alexa feature that developers have been clambering for since 2016: the settings API.With the settings API, you can access the user's timezone (among other things) and use that within your skill to personalise the voice experience for your users. You can send them targeted push notificationsat the appropriate time and use their preferred weather measurement (Celsius or Fahrenheit).We discuss Eric Olsen's (3PO Labs) in-depth review of the settings APIand how it could be the beginning of something bigger.Scott Huffman's 5 insights on voice techWe also discuss Scott Huffman's post (VP Engineering, Google Assistant) on the five insights on voice technologyand how they should impact your approach. For example, focusing on utilities and understanding what kind of things people use Assistant for at different times of day.Voysis and Voicebot vCommerce studyWe delve into the Voysis and Voicebot study on vCommerceand discuss how voice on mobile is so important, yet how it's bubbling away under the surface, not grabbing many headlines.Alexa skills challenge, Storyline and icon creationFinally, we discuss the latest Alexa Skills Challenge: Games, in-skill purchases on Storyline (check out VUX World with Vasili Shynkarenka, CEO, Storyline) and the new Alexa feature that allows anyone to create icons for their skills.Where to listenApple podcastsSpotifyYouTubeCastBoxSpreakerTuneInBreakerStitcherPlayerFMiHeartRadioOther linksThe Power of Habit bookHooked book
The strategy, creativity and technology triangulation with RAIN's Will Hall and Jason Herndon
This week, we’re speaking to RAIN agency’s Will Hall and Jason Herndon about how their three pillars of: strategy, creativity and technology, are leading the world's biggest brands to voice first success.In this episode: voice strategy, creative prowess and technological geniusIn this episode, RAIN’s Executive Creative Director, Will Hall, and VP, Engineering, Jason Herndon guide us through the practicalities of how they shape voice strategies and implement voice first solutions for the world's biggest brands.Whether you're a brand, a designer or developer, this episode will help you understand how and where to start.It’ll give you things to consider and help you align voice first initiatives with core business drivers.It’ll show you what you can expect from working with (or at) a voice first agency and give you some examples of how industry-leading brands are approaching voice.It’ll also present some of the challenges you’ll face and maybe even challenge your own thinking on whether your organisation is set-up for success, including showing you why 'systems thinking' is so important.You'll understand how to hone-in on use cases that provide value.You’ll learn how to structure a voice first project; the skills and resources you’ll need and who needs to be involved, as well as the process of going from nothing to implementing a world-leading voice experience.It’ll show you tools that you can use for design and development, as well as guide you on the value of testing early.It’ll also give you some ideas on how far ahead you should plan your roadmap and cover why a crawl, walk, run approach is most appropriate.As ever, we go deep into all of the above and more - this episode is a longer one than usual, and it’s densely packed with nothing but insights.Our guestsWill Hall is the Executive Creative Director at RAIN. Will has worked on countless projects for global brands and blends the strategy and creative sides of projects together, making sure that the strategic aims of clients are brought to fruition with the appropriate creative.Jason Herndon, VP, Engineering at RAIN, has worked with the world's largest brands on technical architecture and development and, at RAIN, is responsible for turning big ideas into reality.About RAINRAIN has worked with some of the world’s biggest brands on some of the most headline grabbing Alexa Skills.Campbells Kitchen and Tide were two of the first branded Alexa Skills and are still cited today as pioneering examples of how valuable voice can be for brands.The Warner Brothers’ Dunkirk interactive story, which we discussed in our episode on voice games with Florian Hollandt, pushed the boundaries on what’s possible on the Alexa platform and brought movie-like sound design and scripting to the voice first world.RAIN help brands big and small figure out the strategic value in bringing voice to your business and guide brands through the creation, implementation, promotion and development of voice first experiences.Where to listeniTunes/Apple podcastsSpotifyStitcherTuneIniHeartRadioPippaYouTubeAny other podcast player you use or ask Any Pod to play VUX World on AlexaLinksVisit the website (the newsletter link is at the top on the home page)Check out RAIN's development framework, VoxaGet in touch with RAIN or require about a project:
All about conversation design with PullString's Oren Jacob
This week, we speak to conversation design master, Oren Jacob, about what it takes to create successful conversations with technology.There are so many complexities in human conversation. When creating an Alexa Skill or Google Assistant Action, most designers try to mimic human conversation. Google itself has taken steps in this direction with the fabricated ‘mm hmm’ moments with Google Duplex.But does all of this have an actual impact on the user experience? Does it make it better or worse? How natural is natural enough and does it matter?What other factors contribute to conversation design that works?PullString CEO and co-founder, Oren Jacob answers all in this week's episode.In this episode on conversation designWe get deep into conversation design this week and discuss things like:How natural should conversations with voice assistants be?Why you shouldn't just try to mimic human conversationThe power of voice and what tools designers need to create compelling personasWhether you should you use the built in text-to-speech (TTS) synthetic voice or record your own dialogueHow any why writing dialogue is entirely different from writing to be readThe similarities and differences between making a film and creating a conversational experience on a voice first deviceThe limitations and opportunities for improved audio capability and sound designThe importance of having an equal balance of creative and technical talent in teamsWhat it all means for brands and why you should start figuring that out nowOur guestOren Jacob, co-founder and CEO of Pullstring. Oren has worked in the space in between creativity and technology for two decades.After spending 20 years working at Pixar on some of the company's classic films such as Toy Story and Finding Nemo, Oren created ToyTalk.ToyTalk was a company that allowed kids to interact with their toys through voice.As voice technology progressed and voice assistants and smart speakers were shaping up to take the world by storm, ToyTalk morphed into PullString, the enterprise-grade conversation design platform.About PullstringFor over half a decade, PullString's platform, software, and tools have been used to build some of the biggest and best computer conversation in market, with use cases and verticals as diverse as hospitality to home improvement and Hello Barbie to Destiny 2. It was also used to create, the latest in big-ticket skills, HBO 's Westworld: The Maze.Where to listeniTunes/Apple podcastsSpotifyStitcherTuneIniHeartRadioPippaYouTubeAny other podcast player you use or ask Any Pod to play VUX World on AlexaLinksVisit the PullString webisteFollow PullString on TwitterRead more about how the Westworld skill was createdCheck out the details of the talk Oren will be giving at the VOICE Summit 18Check out the details of Daniel Sinto's demo of PullString Conversehappening at the VOICE Summit 18Check out the VOICE Summit website
How to translate your Alexa Skill or Google Assistant Action with Maaike Dufour
Translating your Alexa Skill or Google Assistant Action is about more than translating the words in your script. It's about translating the user experience. Maaike Dufour calls this 'transcreating' and she joins us this week to show us how it's done.Why should you translate your Alexa Skill or Google Assistant Action?The world is getting smaller. Technology has enabled us to reach and connect with people from every corner of the earth with ease.Take this podcast for example. It’s listened to in over 40 different countries, most of which don’t speak English as a first language.In fact, the vast majority of the world don’t speak English and certainly not as a first language.Amazon Alexa is globalAmazon Alexa is localised for 11 countries at the time of writing. 5 of them don’t speak English as a first language (France, Germany, Austria, Japan, India).For global brands, having your Alexa Skill or Google Assistant Action available in every country you do business is a no-brainer. But even for hobbyists and smaller scale developers, think about the population of those countries and the potential impact you could have if you Skill was to do well in those locales.In this episodeWe’re being guided through the importance of making your Alexa Skill or Google Action available in other languages and what steps you should take to make that happen.We discuss why simply translating your Alexa Skill script won’t work and why you need to recreate the user experience in your desired language.We cover some of the cultural differences between countries and give some examples of why that makes literal translations difficult. For example, the X-Factor in the UK is a nationally recognised TV show. Whereas, in France, it aired for one season and wasn’t well received. Therefore, referencing the X-Factor in a French Skill is pointless.Maaike tells us about how, when transcreating your Alexa Skill, you might even need to change your entire persona due to the differences in how other cultures perceive different personas. For example, in the UK, a postman is simply someone who delivers mail. Whereas, in France, the postman is a close family friend who stops to chat and knows everybody in the street personally. In the UK, the postman is a distant stranger. In France, the postman is a close acquaintance. That makes for two entirely different personas.We discuss examples of words and phrases that exist in one language but don’t in another and how that can both open up opportunities and sometimes present challenges.Our guestWe’re joined by Maaike Dufour, Freelance Conversation UX Designer, co-founder of UX My Botand supreme transcreator of voice first applications. Maaike, quite rightly, prefers to use the term ‘transcreate’ instead of ‘translate’ because simply translating the words that make up your Alexa Skill or Google Assistant Action won’t work, as you’ll find out in this episode.Maaike has worked on voice first UX for a number of years. Having worked with the Smartly.aiteam, Maaike now works with Labworks.ioand is helping the team break into international markets through the transcreation of popular Alexa Skills such as Would You Ratherinto other languages.Where to listeniTunes/Apple podcastsSpotifyStitcherTuneIniHeartRadioPippaAny other podcast player you use or ask Any Pod to play VUX World on AlexaLinksRead Maaike's thoughts on MediumWatch Maaike's talk at Chatbots and Voice Assistants London on YouTubeFollow Maaike on TwitterCheck out Maaike's websiteVisit UX My Bot
How I built the world's best chatbot with Steve Worswick
We speak to the creator of the world’s best chatbot about how to design Loabner prize-winning conversational experiences.Steve Worswick is the creator of Mitsuku, the general conversation chatbot that has won the Loabner prizefor the last two year’s straight.13 years in the making, Mitsuku passed the Turing testand convinced a panel of judges that it’s human over the course of a 20 minute conversation, two years in a row, to be crowned the world’s best chatbot and conversational agent.It's featured in the Wall Street Journal, BBC, The Guardianand Wired. And, unlike most chatbots that focus on serving a specific set of use cases, Mitsuku is a general conversational agent. That means you can speak to it about anything.This week's Flash Briefing question is from Brielle Nickoloff of Witlingo: What would an open source voice assistant look like? Send us your thoughtsand you could feature on the VUX World Flash Briefingthis week!What about voice?Although Mitsuku is a text-based chatbot, this episode looks at how to take Steve’s 13 years of experience in creating conversational experiences and apply that to the voice first space.In this episodeThis episode is all about how to design and create a world-leading general conversational experience.We get into detail about how Mitsuku is built (hint: it doesn’t use natural language processing or machine learning like most other conversational AI) and how Natural Language Processing-based conversational agents don’t quite hit the mark.Steve tells us about Mitsuku’s rule-based supervised learning and how that’s leading to better experiences.Despite Mitsuku passing the Turing test, Steve tells us why the Turing test is redundant.We discuss user behaviour and how people treat a general conversational agent, from counselling to romance, bullying to marriage and money worries, and how to be sensitive on those topics.We hear how varied responses can increase engagement. So much so that one person has spent 9 hours talking to Mitsuku!We find out how to deal with pronoun resolution and how to refer back to what was said earlier in the conversation.We uncover how brands are using Mitsuku as part of their conversational experiences, handing off to her when a user strays away from the use cases that their bot can handle.We chat about how Alexa fairs against Mitsuku and hear where Siri would have finished if it was entered in to the Loabner prize competition.Perhaps one of the most valuable lessons in this episode is the importance of persisting. Creating a conversational agent, a true conversational experience, takes time. It’s not a quick fix that you cobble together with a quick Alexa Skill. It takes years of development, iteration and constant improvement. But, if you stick with it, you might end up with the next best conversational agent.Our guestSteve Worswick started out in IT support and built Mitsuku as a passion project on the side. 13 years of hard work and 3 Loabner prizes later, he’s now working at the world’s largest chatbot agency and provider, PandoraBots.Where to listeniTunes/Apple podcastsSpotifyStitcherTuneIniHeartRadioPippaAny other podcast player you use or ask Any Pod to play VUX World on AlexaLinksContact PandorabotsCheck out Mitsuku on PandorabotsTalk to MitsukuCheck out Steve's talk at the Chatbots and Voice Assistants Londonevent
Helping brands bridge the gap with Witlingo's Brielle Nickoloff and Luciana Morais
This week, we're finding out how brands can get started and enter the voice first world of smart speakers and digital assistants.Me and Dustin Coates are joined by one of the top US voice first agencies, Witlingo. We speak with two Lead VUX designers, Luciana Morias and Brielle Nickoloff, about how your brand can bridge the gap over to voice.In this episodeBrielle and Luciana share how they guide brands through the process of discovering their voice and establishing a voice first presence.We discuss the new challenge of working out what your brand sounds like and how to determine whether to focus on voice first content or voice as a service.They discuss how brands should be playing the long game and the challenge of convincing clients to start small and adopt a continuous improvement culture to grow their voice first capability.We chat about figuring out whether your should repurpose existing content or create new and discuss some of the great guides to voice design that Witlingo produce, including the guide to making your Facebook content voice friendly.Our guestsLuciana Morais has a background in UX research and analysis and has a wealth of design experience. Now working at Witlingo as UX Lead and VUI Designer.Brielle Nickoloff has a background in linguistics and has published a study on The use of profane threats and insults in the Anthropomorphization of digital voice assistants. Brielle is also Lead Voice User Experience Research and Design at Witlingo.Where to listeniTunes/Apple podcastsSpotifyStitcherTuneIniHeartRadioPippaAny other podcast player you use or ask Any Pod to play VUX World on AlexaLinksVisit the Witlingo websiteFollow Witlingo on TwitterRead Witlingo's VUI assessment guidelinesRead Witlingo's Facebook guidelinesFollow Brielle on TwitterFollow Luciana on TwitterCheck out the Ubiquitous Voice SocietyRead Brielle's paper: The use of profane threats and insults in the Anthropomorphization of digital voice assistantsIt's about the interface stupid
All about Speakeasy AI with the Fresh Prince of AI, Frank Schneider
This week, me and Dustin are speaking with the Fresh Prince of AI, Frank Schneider, about how Speakeasy AI aims to deliver the promise of AI in voice (that’s a lot of AI’s).How many people truly understand what their customers are asking for? Whether it’s in your Alexa Skill, your chatbot or in your IVR, you can’t hope to serve the needs of your users or customers if you don’t understand what they’re trying to do or ask.Understanding is the most important first step you can takeOnce you truly understand the current situation, you can realise whether you’re meeting your existing customer needs, and how well you’re doing that.Through gathering understanding, you can also work out where you’re failing and where the opportunities for improvement or expansion are.That then helps you improve and plan for the future.Speakeasy AI is helping businesses understand what their customers are trying to accomplish on a wide variety of conversational platforms by extracting the intent from any conversation.Its patent-pending technology, called Speech-to-Intent, doesn’t use the typical speech-to-text engine that most voice-first platforms use. Instead, it analyses the actual audio in real time through funnelling it through a pipeline of different ‘top secret’ micro services.This means that low audio quality and accents have no effect on its ability to understand customer intent. Plus, it also allows for further understanding of context.In this episodeDustin Coates and I hear from Frank Schneider, CEO, Speakeasy AI, about the current state of play in the AI field and touch on the amount of bullshit that exists right now.We discuss how conversational understanding works and why speech-to-text might not be the most optimum way to capture intent.We delve into the ins and outs of Speakeasy AI and get the low-down on its patent-pending Speech-to-Intent technology and hear how it could be a better way of understanding customer intents, regardless of audio quality or accents.Frank tells us all about how Speakeasy AI can help businesses improve any conversational platform. He shares the opportunities that exist in the IVR space and how much untapped potential there is for businesses who’re willing to listen.We've discussed VUI design for IVR with Simonie Wilsonrecently, and it would seem that you could use Speakeasy AI as part of a discovery piece of work to figure out where to start, then use Simonie's techniques to begin making improvements.We also chat about the challenges of the AI industry and how working together could bring progress.Our guestFrank was born and raised in Philly and, after spending 9 years in education, including teaching at a school for high school kids who committed felonies, he transitioned into technology sales and marketing, where he’s spent the last 13 years.He’s consulted and led teams providing solutions in various SaaS and AI solutions for contact centers and B2B. He was the first sales executive at Creative Virtual USA and helped grow the team from 12 to 40 employees. After a successful exit, his former CEO is now funding his new venture, Speakeasy AI.Where to listeniTunes/Apple podcastsSpotifyStitcherTuneIniHeartRadioPippaAny other podcast player you use or ask Any Pod to play VUX World on AlexaLinksVisit the Speakeasy AI websiteFollow Speakeasy AI on Twitter
All about Alpha Voice with Bryan Colligan
This week, we’re finding out how content creators can have their podcasts and YouTube content indexed and searchable on voice, with Bryan Colligan of Alpha Voice.With the podcast industry thriving and more people listening to podcasts than ever, more brands are starting to launch their own podcasts. Podcasts are a perfect fit for devices like the Echo and Google Home because they provide ambient entertainment, similar to the widely popular relaxation sounds skills.Two problems face podcast and content creators: how do you make your podcast discoverable in the first place and how do you allow people to search through your backlog of episodes in order to find something that interests them?Podcast discoverability is almost as much of a problem as Alexa Skill discoverability. Although Google is beginning to do its bitto help podcasts be discovered online, what about on voice?This is the problem Alpha Voice aims to solve.Help others get their skill passed first time by sharing your skill certification stories: Send us your tipsand you could feature on the VUX World Flash Briefingthis week!What is Alpha Voice?Alpha Voiceindexes your podcast or YouTube content and makes it all searchable on Alexa via your own Alexa Skill.And it’s not just the podcast titles and guests you can search for. You can search for anything at all that interests you and the platform will search within your content to find your search term, then recommend that episode for you to listen to.In this episodeWe’re talking to Alpha Voice co-founder, Bryan Colligan, about how the platform works, how he and his co-founder built it and what value it gives content creators.We also get into detail about how the VUX of search works on voice: processing and serving potentially hundreds of search results. How do you determine which ones to display to the user?We also discuss:The 5 ways to monetise contentSkill certification inconsistencies, including censorship and 'unwritten rules’How you can get up and running with Alpha VoiceWe wrap up by telling you all about the VUX World Alexa Skill, built using Alpha Voice! (U.S. only right now but will be available in EU soon.)Our guestBryan Colligan is an entrepreneur and the co-founder of Alpha Voice. Bryan is based in Silicon Valley, has founded a series of startups and has been helping startups create mobile apps and improve their SEO for the last 10 years.After reading the Mary Meeker internet trends report and learning that Google can understand 96% of what humans say, Bryan has turned his attention to the voice-first world.After a number of failed experiments, he stumbled across the idea for Alpha Voice and is now helping content creators have their content found on Alexa.Where to listeniTunes/Apple podcastsSpotifyStitcherTuneIniHeartRadioPippaAny other podcast player you use or ask Any Pod to play VUX World on AlexaLinksAlpha Voice YouTubeVisit the Alpha Voice websiteFollow Alpha Voice on TwitterFollow Bryan on TwitterConnect with Bryan on LinkedIn
Voice analytics and Dashbot with Arte Merritt
This week, we’re getting deep into voice analytics and will help you learn more about how you can understand the performance of your voice first experience.One of the biggest benefits that technology has given us is the ability to understand. To understand whether our latest PPC campaign had an impact on sales. To understand whether our new website increased our leads. To understand whether our pricing tweak made a difference on click through rates. To understand whether our foray into Facebook is sending more traffic. To understand whether our customers are satisfied.Tools such as Google Analytics have been providing this kind of value to website owners for years. Tracking where your users come from (Google, Facebook etc), what they do when they arrive and whether they convert are the cornerstones of understanding website performance.What about voice analytics?With the introduction of new mediums such as conversational chatbots and voice first applications on platforms such as Alexa and GoogleAssistant, how do you understand the performance of these things?How do you know if your Alexa Skill or Google Action is successful? Send us your answersand you could feature on the VUX World Flash Briefingthis week!Can you apply the same rules as the web? Can you even access the same data? Is there some new metrics that matter more? And how can you use all of this to understand and improve the performance and use of your product?Well, that’s what you’re about to find out.In this episodeWe’re speaking to Dashbot.ioCEO Arte Merritt all about the conversational analytics platform and how you can understand whether your conversational experience is working for your users.We discuss the kind of metrics Dashbot provide including:No. usersRepeat usersTime per sessionRetentionSentiment analysisMessage funnelsIntent funnelsTop exit messagesAI performanceGoalsBehaviour flowConversation flowArte tells us some case studies of how the tool has been used to understand and then improve conversational experiences.We discuss some of the challenges with conversational analytics and how they relate to the voice first space and we hear about where voice analytics are heading in the future.Our guestArte Merritt has worked in mobile and analytics for 20 years. He built an analytics platform which he sold it to Nokia before turning his attention to fill a gap in the market when he realised that Slack didn’t have any analytics. Dashbot was born and its been serving conversational designers ever since, helping them understand and improve their chatbots and voice applications. Since its creation, Dashbot has analysed 32 billion messages and counting!Where to listeniTunes/Apple podcastsSpotifyStitcherTuneIniHeartRadioPippaAny other podcast player you use or ask Any Pod to play V.U.X. World on AlexaLinksCheck out Dashbot.ioFollow Dashbot on TwitterFollow Arte on TwitterAlexa Skills: competitive intelligence Check out the Dashbot BlogFind out more about the Smart Voice Summit London
All about Pindrop, VUI design and VUI tuning with Simonie Wilson
This week, we take a look at the similarities between VUI design for IVR and VUI design for voice assistants. We also explain what VUI tuning is and why it’s important, whilst giving you some tips on how you can tune your voice user interface. We also discuss PinDrop and voice first security.In this episodeWe speak to one of the world’s expert VUI practitioners, Simonie Wilson, to get under the hood of Passport and figure out what it is, how it works, why it’s needed and how you can use it to authenticate users with confidence whilst preventing fraud.We also tap into Simonie’s vast VUI design experience and discuss how she goes about designing VUIs that delight rather than smite customers. We get into detail about the benefits of VUI tuning and Simonie shares her advice on how you can continuously improve a VUI experience.Are brands failing on Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant? Send us your answers and you could feature on the VUX World Flash Briefing this week!Privacy and securityPrivacy is often cited as a barrier and a challenge in the voice first space. How do you authenticate a user, build trust and enable people to transact in a frictionless way, all without a long, drawn out, failure stricken on-boarding process?PinDrop is changing that with it’s product, Passport: a fool-proof way to recognise whether someone is who they say they are simply by the sound of their voice. It works in all voice first areas and can even tell whether the voice is synthetic.Here's an example of it working with Alexa:There is so much potential in the voice first space from a vcommerce, health and financial management perspective that technology such as this could smooth over the cracks in the verification process and enable people to transact more seamlessly in a voice first world.Our GuestSimonie Wilson is the queen of VUI design. With over 20 years experience working in the speech and VUI design space, Simonie's career has included working with large companies such as Microsoft and GM, small companies such as startups and contracting too. Simonie has knowledge and experience in the VUI design space that few others do and is one of the few people to have extensive experience with VUI tuning.Simonie is madly passionate about VUI design and, in this episode, shares all of that passion and some real lessons and insights from her experience that’ll help all VUI designers improve what they do.Where to listeniTunes/Apple podcastsSpotifyStitcherTuneIniHeartRadioPippaAny other podcast player you use or ask Any Pod to play V.U.X. World on AlexaLinksVisit the PinDrop websiteCheck out PinDrop on YouTubePinDrop on FacebookPinDrop on TwitterConnect with Simonie on LinkedInEmail SimonieRead about PinDrop Passport in Forbes
All about BotTalk and how to run a voice first discovery workshop with Andrey Esaulov
This week, we’re digging into how you can create an Alexa Skill using BotTalk and we give you a template for running a voice first discovery workshop, with SmartHaus Technologies CEO and BotTalk co-founder, Andrey Esaulov.We discuss the importance of starting with a solid use case and how imperative it is to base your voice app on a real-world scenario that’ll add value to your users.What turns an average voice experience into an EPIC voice experience? Send us your answers and you could feature on the VUX World Flash Briefing this week!We then dive deep into the practical detail of how to approach designing a voice first user experience with BotTalk and find out more about the language it’s built in: YAML. We discuss what BotTalk is, how it’s different from some of the other tools on the market, how it works, it’s features and how you can get up and running.Finally, Andrey takes us through a voice first discovery workshop template that he uses with clients in order to take a brand from zero to hero: from ideation to prototype, and how you can do the same too.We also traverse some other interesting conversational landscapes such as the concept of skill-first companies: brands that pop up as skills which are the core of the business, like an app is for Instagram. We chat about Artificial Intelligence and how intelligent it actually is in the voice first space. We touch on managing client expectations, monetisation and how voice is making waves in Germany.About BotTalkThe current selection skill building tools on the market are at opposite ends of the technical spectrum. Some tools require you to know how to code from the ground-up, like Jovo and be a skilled back-end developer. Others have a drag and drop interface and don’t require any coding at all, like Storyline.BotTalk bridges the gap between those two worlds with a tool that’s aimed at UX designers who have some basic coding knowledge, like HTML and CSS. It provides some of the technical capability you’d expect if you built something from scratch, whilst providing a more simple coding language: YAML. Think of it as HTML for voice.Our GuestAndrey Esaulov is the CEO of SmartHaus Technologies, which specialise in growth hacking in the mobile space, and the co-founder of BotTalk, a voice first and bot application building platform.Andrey has a computer science background, with expensive experience in the start up world and mobile growth space, as well as a PhD in Linguistics and Literacy.Andrey’s skillset is a perfect match for this industry and his knowledge in this area is vast. Couple his computer science and linguistics knowledge with his skills in working with clients and delivering growth and you’ve got a perfect recipe for success.LinksCheck out BotTalkFollow Andrey on TwitterJoin the BotTalk Facebook communityFollow BotTalk on InstaWatch the BotTalk tutorials on YouTubeVisit the Smarthaus Technologies websiteJoin the Alexa Slack channelEnable the VUX World Flash BriefingFeature on this week's Flash BriefingWhere to listeniTunes/Apple podcastsSpotifyStitcherTuneIniHeartRadioPippaAny other podcast player you use or ask Any Pod to play V.U.X. World on Alexa
All about voice search with the SEO Oracle, Dr. Pete
Dr. Pete, Marketing Scientist at Moz, and world-leading SEO oracle, tells all about the voice search landscape, and how you can rank for searches on digital assistants like Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.This is a jam-packed episode with deep, deep insights, advice and guidance on all things voice search related. We'll give you practical ways to compete to be the answer that’s read out in voice first searches, as well as some notions on the current and potential future benefit that could bring.Voice searchThere are all kinds of stats around voice search, which we’ve touched upon before.Gartner predicts that 50% searches will be voice based by 2020There are already over 1bn voice searches performed per monthWith more people using their voice to search, how will that affect search marketers, content creators and brands?What’s the difference between a voice search and a typed search?Is there anything you can do to appear in voice search results?We speak to one of the search industry's top sources of SEO knowledge, Dr. Pete, to find out.Getting deep into voice searchIn this episode, we’re discussing the differences between voice search on mobile, voice first search on smart speakers and typed search.We discuss the absence of search engine results pages (SERPs) in a voice first environment and increased competition for the singularity: the top spot in voice search.We chat about the search landscape, the effect voice is having on search, changing user behaviour and expectations, new search use cases and multi modal implications, challenges and opportunities.We get into detail about how voice search works on devices such as Google Assistant and Google Home. This includes debating Google’s knowledge graph and it’s advantages and disadvantages in a voice first context.We look at the practicalities of serving search results via voice. This touches on the different types of search results, such as featured snippets, and how voice handles different data formats such as tables. We get into detail about the different types of featured snippets available and how each translate to work (or not work) on voice.We discuss Dr. Pete’s work and studies in the voice first space including his piece ‘What I learned from 1,000 voice searches' and what he found.We wrap up with some practical tips that you can use right now to start preparing for the influx of voice searches that’ll be hitting the air waves soon and help you start to rank in a voice first environment.Our GuestDr. Pete Myers (a.k.a Dr. Pete a.k.a. the Oracle) is the Marketing Scientist at Moz, the SEO giant and search industry leader.Dr. Pete has been an influential search marketer since 2012 and has spent years studying Google’s search algorithm, advising clients and the SEO industry on best practice and guiding the industry into the future.His research and writing on the topic has been helping brands keep on top of the search space, improve their rankings and business performance and has helped keep Moz at the top of the industry.Mozhas been at the top of the SEO chain since 2004 and is trusted by the whole SEO industry as the place to go for SEO tooling, insights and practical guidance.LinksFollow Dr. Pete on TwitterFollow Moz on TwitterRead Dr. Pete's 'What I learned from 1,000 voice searches on Google Home'Read Dr. Pete's work at MozWhere to listeniTunes/Apple podcastsSpotifyStitcherTuneIniHeartRadioPippaAny other podcast player you use or ask Any Pod to play V.U.X. World on Alexa
All about Voysis and the GUI to VUI transition with Brian Colcord
We’ve covered plenty of voice first designand developmenton this podcast. Well, that’s what the podcast is, so we’re bound to! Most of what we’ve discussed has largely been voice assistant or smart speaker-focused. We haven’t covered a huge amount of voice first application in the browser and on mobile, until now.Mic checkYou’ll have noticed the little mic symbol popping up on a number of websites lately. It’s in the Google search bar, it’s on websites such as EchoSim and Spotify are trialing it too. When you press that mic symbol, it enables your mic on whatever device you’re using and lets you speak your search term.Next time you see that mic, you could be looking at the entry point to Voysis.On a lot of websites, that search may well just use the website’s standard search tool to perform the search. With Voysis, its engine will perform the search for you using its voice tech stack.That means that you can perform more elaborate searches that most search engines would struggle with. For example:“Show me Nike Air Max trainers, size 8, in black, under $150”Most search engines would freak out at this, but not Voysis. That’s what it does.Of course, it’s more than an ecommerce search tool, as we’ll find out during this episode.In this episodeWe discuss how approaches to new technology seem to wrongly follow a reincarnation route. Turning print into web by using the same principles that govern print. Turning online into mobile by using the same principles that govern the web. Then taking the practices and principles of GUI and transferring that to VUI. We touch on why moving you app to voice is the wrong approach.We also discuss:Voysis - what it is and what it doesGetting sophisticated with searchesDesigning purely for voice vs multi modalThe challenge of ecommerce with a zero UIThe nuance between the GUI assistant and voice only assistantsHow multi modal voice experiences can help the shopping experienceMaking the transition from GUI to VUIThe similarities between moving from web to mobile and from mobile to voice - (when moving to mobile, you had to think about gestures and smaller screens)Error states and points of delightThe difference between designing for voice and designing for a screenTesting for voiceUnderstand voice first ergonomicsOur GuestBrian Colcord, VP of Design at Voysis, is a world-leading designer, cool, calm and collected speaker and passionate sneaker head.After designing the early versions of the JoinMe brand markings and UI, he was recruited by LogMeIn and went on to be one of the first designers to work on the Apple Watch prior to its release.Brian has made the transition from GUI to VUI design and shares with us his passion for voice, how he made the transition, what he learned and how you can do it too.About VoysisVoysis is a Dublin-based voice technology company that believes voice interactions can be as natural as human ones and are working intently to give brands the capability to have natural language interactions with customers.LinksCheck out the Voysis websiteFollow Voysis on TwitterRead the Voysis blogJoin Brian on LinkedInFollow Brian on TwitterListen to the AI in industry podcast with Voysis CEO, Peter CahillRead Brian's post, You're already a voice designer, you just don't know it yetWhere to listeniTunes/Apple podcastsSpotifyStitcherTuneIniHeartRadioPippaAny other podcast player you use or ask Any Pod to play V.U.X. World on Alexa
All about voice first games with Florian Hollandt
Voice first games are one of the most popular Amazon Alexa skill categories. So what type of voice games are available? And how do you create them? We speak to game developer and reviewer, Florian Hollandt, to find out.Games are helping Alexa take off. According to, Alexa Skill games are the second most popular skill categorybehind smart home skills. Amazon has been encouraging the development of games, too. We've seen the Alexa Skills Challenge: Kids recently and I'd say it’s more than likely that most of the developer rewards will have gone to game developers, given the engaging nature of games.We’ve touched upon voice first games on the podcast previously, such as our chat with Jo Jaquinta of Tsa Tsa Tzu, but we haven’t yet covered audio game development in detail, which is what we’ll do today.Creating voice first gamesIn this episode, we’ll be getting into detail about the different kids of voice first games that are out there, as well as looking at some of the techniques you can use to create engaging games such as interactive stories.We’ll cover things like:Naming a game and how a name can reduce discoverabilityThe challenge of providing contentThe one game per month challengeThe types of games that are available on Amazon AlexaGame design techniquesInteractive story game development techniquesFake decisions - what are they and how can you use them to enhance engagementOur GuestFlorian Hollandt is the Product Manager at Jovo, the cross platform voice app platform, and is also an Alexa game developer and reviewer. He’s created some popular games on Alexa, such as the German card game, Mau Mau, and has written a ton of voice first game reviews on Medium.Florian is madly passionate about voice first games and his knowledge on the subject is impressive. He guides us through his experience and shares some delightful tips on how you can start creating voice first games yourself.LinksFollow Florian on TwitterCheck out Florian's voice first game reviews on MediumSome of the things Florian spoke about:Voice first game design tutorial from AmazonThe Mitsuku chat botWoebotOne game per month websiteSelect a storyMagic doorMr Robot
Turning Alexa for Business into a business with Bob Stolzberg
Today, we’re following the story of the inspirational Bob Stolzberg of VoiceXP, and giving you some deep insights into how you can turn Alexa for Business into a business.In this episode, Dustin and I are getting into the detail of how VoiceXP came to be, how Bob almost made $14,500 profit from his first Alexa Skill, why voice is such a big opportunity and how he turned Alexa for Business into a business.We’re also discussing the features that come with Amazon Alexa for Business and some example use cases taken from Bob’s experience, as well as plenty of other areas such as:Selling to corporate clientsThe difference between a skill builder and a businessThe risk of using amazon alexa in businessSecurity concerns and DR complianceThe risks that corporate clients face and mitigationsThe importance of being a Amazon partnerPrivate vs public skillsLocking down devicesUse cases and future use casesReporting and analyticsAgnostic roadmapsThe hard work required to start a startupOur GuestAfter spending 20 years working in the enterprise IT field, Bob Stolzberg founded VoiceXP, the voice first company that helps businesses create efficiencies and increase productivity through voice. Bob and his team work with enterprise clients and SMEs to implement Alexa for Business within organisations. From designing and building specific skills for clients, to the full implementation of the devices and platform.Bob’s experience of the enterprise IT environment gives him a unique understanding of the corporate IT world, the kind of people that make purchasing decisions and the kind of risks or concerns IT professionals will perceive with new technology platforms such as this. He’s managed to overcome those concerns, mitigate those risks and build a thriving business that’s just joined one of the top startup accelerators in the US, Capital Innovators.Bob’s an immensely engaging and passionate guy, and offers some amazing guidance and pointers for anyone looking to turn voice into a business. This is a truly inspirational listen.LinksVisit the VoiceXP websiteFollow Bob on TwitterListen to the VoiceFirst.FM podcast featuring BobCheck out Dustin's book: Voice applications for Alexa and Google Assistant Where to listeniTunes/Apple podcastsSpotifyStitcherTuneIniHeartRadioPippaAny other podcast player you use or ask Any Pod to play V.U.X. World on Alexa
How people REALLY use Amazon Alexa with Martin Porcheron
Today, we’re discussing the findings of Martin Porcheron’s study, ‘Voice interfaces in everyday life’. We uncover insights into how people actually use Amazon Alexa in the home. We find unique user behaviour, new technology challenges and understand what it all means for voice UX designers, developers and brands.Voice interfaces in everyday lifeImagine if you could eaves drop into someone's house and listen to how they interact with their Amazon Echo. Imagine, whenever someone said “Alexa”, you were there. Imagine being able to hear everything thing that was said for an entire minute before the word “Alexa” was uttered, and then stick around for a whole 60 seconds after the interaction with Alexa was over.Well, that’s exactly what today’s guest and his associates did, and his findings offer some unique lessons for VUX designers, developers and brands that’ll help you create more natural voice user experiences that work.In this episode, we’re discussing:How people use digital assistants in publicThe background of Voice interfaces in everyday lifeThe challenge of what you call your Alexa skillThe issue of recallHow Amazon can improve skill usageThe inherent problem of discoverability in voiceHow Echo use is finely integrated into other activitiesThe implications of treating an Echo as a single user deviceThe challenge of speech recognition in the ‘hurly burly’ of moderns lifeHow people collaboratively attempt to solve interaction problemsWhat is ‘political’ control and how does it apply to voice first devices?Pranking people’s Alexa and the effect on future Amazon advertisingDesigning for device controlWhy these devices aren’t actually conversationalThe importance of responsesKey takeaways for designers and developersGive your skill a name that’s easy for recallMake your responses succinct, fit within a busy and crowded environmentMake sure your responses are a resource for further action - how will the user do the next thing?Consider designing for multiple usersDon’t use long intros and tutorials, get straight to the pointDon’t design for a conversation, design to get things doneOur GuestMartin Porcheron is a Research Associate in the Mixed Reality Lab at the University of Nottingham and has a PhD in Ubiquitous Computing, a sub-set of Computer Science. Martin has conducted several studies in the field of human-computer interaction, including looking at how people make use of mobile phones in conversations i.e. how people use something like Siri mid-conversation and how those interactions unfold.Martin’s angle isn’t to look at these things as critical or problematic, but to approach them as an opportunity to learn about how people make use of technology currently. He believe this enables us to make more informed design decisions.The study we discuss today has won many plaudits including Best Paper Award at the CHI 2018 conference.LinksRead the Voice interfaces in everyday life studyFollow Martin on TwitterRead Martin's blog post on the studyRead Martin's colleague, Stuart Reeves' post on the study on MediumVisit Martin's websiteWhere you can listen:iTunes/Apple podcastsSpotifyStitcherTuneIniHeartRadioPippaAny other podcast player you use or ask Any Pod to play V.U.X. World on Alexa
Tackling the challenges of discoverability and monetisation on Amazon Alexa with Jo Jaquinta
Today, we're getting deep into the biggest challenges facing designers and developers on the Alexa platform: being discovered and making money. And who better to take us through it, than one of the most experienced developers on the voice scene, Jo 'the Oracle' Jaquinta.Speak to anyone who's serious about voice first development and they'll tell you the two biggest challenges facing the voice first world right now are skill discoverability and monetisation. Vasili Shynkarenka of Storyline mentioned it and so did Matt Hartman of Betaworks when they featured on the VUX World podcast previously.However, we rarely hear stories from people who've tried everything they can to overcome these challenges. Until now.In this episode, we're joined by Dustin Coates as co-host and we're speaking to Jo about his vast experience of designing and developing on the Amazon Alexa platform and how he's approached tackling those two big challenges.We also discuss voice UX design techniques that Jo's picked up along the way, as well as the tools and techniques he uses for developing skills.This one is jam-packed with epic insights from someone who few know more than in this space right now, and includes discussion on a vast array of subjects including:Discoverability:The impact of advertising on increasing skill adoptionThe effect of being featured in the Amazon Alexa newsletterWhat Amazon can do to help skill discoveryHow transferring between modalities can loose usersMonetisation:The challenges of turning skill development into a businessThe difference between Google’s and Amazon’s strategyThe two ways to make money from voice: the easy way and the hard wayWhy a monetisation API shouldn't be the focus for developersWhy Amazon Alexa developer payouts are bad for the voice environmentDesign:The challenges of designing for voice with a screenHow immersive audio games help the visually impairedHow Amazon could improve the UX for users by moving to a 'streaming' approach to voiceWhy you shouldn’t be aiming for a ‘conversational’ experienceWhat is the method of Loci and how can it be used when designing for voice?Development:Fuzzy matchingBuilding and maintaining your own library and SDKCross platform developmentOther gems include:Structural problems with the Alexa platformHow company culture affects voice strategyWhy it’s not early days in voiceAlexa for business and privacyOur GuestJo Jaquinta is a software developer with over 20 years' experience. Jo started building skills on the Alexa platform a short time after it was released, has created a host of interesting skills and learned plenty along the way through pulling Alexa in all kinds of different directions. His knowledge, experience and plenty of lessons learned were all applied in building Jo's most recent skill, the madly complex, 6 Swords.Jo shares plenty of his voice design and development knowledge on his YouTube channel, which is full of engaging and interesting insights, and has put pen to paper to share his knowledge in the shape of two books on Alexa: How to Program Amazon Echo and Developing Amazon Alexa Games. He's also active on the Alexa Slack channel, helping people solve their development problems and consulting on voice design and development.What Jo doesn't know about developing on Alexa isn't worth knowing. His immense knowledge and vast experience in this area are pretty much unrivalled, which is why I refer to him as 'the Oracle'.LinksFind Jo on the Alexa Slack channelListen to the episode featuring JoFind out more about Tsa Tsa TzuCheck out 6 SwordsWatch Jo's videos on YouTubeYouTube: making money on Alexa, the easy way and the hard wayRead Jo's books: How to Program Amazon Echo and Developing Amazon Alexa GamesWhere to Listen:iTunes/Apple podcastsSpotifyTuneIniHeartRadioStitcher
My first 30 days as a VUI designer with Ilana Shalowitz and Brian Bauman
Today, we’re getting into detail about what it’s like to be a full-time VUI designer. We’re discussing the details of the role, the day to day duties and the skillsets that are important to succeed in designing voice user interfaces.The role of a VUI designer has been around for a while, but it’s not so common. However, with the rise of voice as an access point for controlling technology, this is one of the roles of the future.If you’re planning for that future and are considering seeking work in the voice first space; or if you’re a voice first design hobbyist looking to take it full-time; or if you’re generally interested in what it takes to create conversational interfaces, then this is a great episode for you.We’re joined by two professional VUI designers, Ilana Shalowitz and Brian Bauman of Emmi, and together they’ll be taking us through the ins and outs of the role that designs voice user interfaces for Emmi’s care calls.In this episodeIlana takes us through an overview of the VUI designer role and discusses what skillsets are important. She takes us through the interview process, bedding in, and drops some detailed knowledge voice user interface design based on her years of experience in the field.Brian then takes us through the role in more detail and looks at the specifics of the role, where a VUI designer fits into a project, what the day to day activities and duties are, and what he found during his first 30 days.We also discuss things like:How to pronounce VUI (V.U.I. or "Vooey")The difference between chat bot design and conversational vuiWhat is prosity and why is it importantLanguageBreathingError recoveryDirecting voice talentReporting and measuring successBroader voice user interface design tipsOur guestsIlana Shalowitz is the VUI Design Manager at Emmi and has a background in marketing and design. Ilana is forming a great reputation in the voice first space and is quickly becoming a leading voice for voice in the healthcare sector. She featured at the Alexa Conference 2018, spoke at the AI Summit 2018, has featured on the VoiceFirst.FM Voice of Healthcare podcast (Episode 5) and is a keynotes speaker at the Voice of Healthcare Summit in August in Boston.Brian Bauman is a former playwright and joined Emmi recently, taking on his first role as a VUI designer. Brian has a background in the creative arts and is a former playwright. He fills us in on what his first month as a VUI designer was like and how his creative background gave him some valuable transferable skills.About EmmiEmmi solutions is part of the Wolters Kluwer stable and helps care organisations extend the reach of their care through using technology.Ilana and Brian both wore on the automated voice-based outbound calls side of the company. They create call scripts and dialogue flows that are turned into real calls that patients receive and can interact with in conversation. This means that healthcare providers can speak to thousands of patients without needing make make any manual calls at all.LinksApply to be a VUI designer at EmmiJoin the VUI designer slack channelFind out more about EmmiRegister at the Voice of Healthcare Summit 2018
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Emotional intelligence with Sina Kahen

Emotional intelligence with Sina Kahen