Giving Voice to Your Voice Designs

In this full day workshop, learn what it takes to design a production-ready voice interface.

Designing for voice interaction can be an intimidating concept for a generation of designers trained primarily in visual principles and patterns. But there’s a greater need for voice designers than there are folks experienced in voice design. Join us and see how the skills you already have can translate to this evolving design specialty. In this workshop, you’ll learn the basics of voice design and apply those skills to plan your own voice app or skill.

Participants will walk away with an understanding of the history of voice design, the technology behind today’s natural language systems, a framework of constraints and guidelines for successful voice designs, and experience with the key deliverables generated during the voice design process.

Instructor and workshop creator Cheryl Platz is a voice design veteran, with experience including Alexa, Cortana and Windows Automotive. She was responsible for the initial voice designs for the Echo Look and the Alexa Notifications system. Her background in improvisational theater and teaching makes her an engaging, memorable speaker.

Cheryl walking through VUI deliverables at Interaction17.

Delivery Options

  • One-hour talk (streamlined content)
  • Three-hour half day workshop
  • 8+ hour full day workshop

As Seen At

Attendee Feedback

Do it! The workshop is fun, engaging, and incredibly useful. Cheryl is an extremely engaging speaker- not one second of the workshop was boring! – Rosenfeld Media remote participant, Jan 2021

It’s a great introduction to the field. You find out what you don’t know but might have thought you knew. You also find out how to apply skills from visual UX design so you don’t feel as if you’re starting over. You find out what topics you might want to read more about and areas you could improve in. – Rosenfeld Media remote participant, Jan 2021

Gave us concrete examples of real world items she worked on and they ran into and solved issues and showed us how to think and plan through diagramming a skill using the Mural board. That set up was great!
– Rosenfeld Media remote participant, Jan 2021

Course Outline

  1. STATE OF THE ART: A brief history of voice user interface technology.
  2. LANGUAGE BEHIND NATURAL LANGUAGE: A glossary of voice user interface design, including detailed definitions of key concepts specific to VUI. We dive deeper into the various stages of audio processing that translate a customer’s speech into a signal the designer can work with.
  3. SITUATIONAL CONSIDERATIONS: We walk through a number of the constraints and design pivots commonly applied to voice designs, like the importance of acoustic uniqueness and the appropriate use of grammars vs. natural language systems.
  4. BASIC GUIDELINES FOR SUCCESSFUL VOICE DESIGN:: We walk through seven guidelines for voice design in detail: important considerations like reincorporation, brevity and earcons along with process guidelines like audio storyboarding.
  5. DELIVERING A VOICE DESIGN: The end-to-end design process is transformed from a visually-focused process to an IA and content-focused process. New deliverables are proposed as we walk through a sample skill and see the deliverables created step-by-step.

Optional additional modules for multi-day or advanced workshops only:

  • INTRO TO SKILLS: We deconstruct the information architecture of skills on Alexa, Google, and Cortana – so that designers that wish to build their solutions can translate the designs. (We do not cover coding in this workshop).
  • CONVERSATIONAL UI: Want to build chatbots, or agents that cross multiple modalities? We discuss what guidelines translate, and what should change.