Voice User Interface (VUI): The future of online interaction

Voice User Interface (VUI): The future of online interaction
Apr 24

David Jenkin

User Interface

Web Development

The ability to use voice commands to interact with technology is a milestone in the evolution of technology. The age of Voice User Interface (VUI) is finally here, and the way we use the web is set to change on a fundamental level.

Rather than physical input, VUI relies solely on speech recognition and natural language processing to interpret and respond to verbal instructions. It always seemed to be so easy on Star Trek to direct a computer to take any required action, but until somewhat recently the technology was simply not capable enough to make it practical.

Now, with advances in natural language processing, voice interfaces have entered the mainstream and are the driving force behind popular virtual assistants like Amazon's Alexa, Apple's Siri, and Google Assistant. As users become accustomed to it, the popularity of VUI is only set to grow (by an estimated 23.4% by 2028, according to Technavio).

Pros and cons of VUI

One of the main advantages of VUI is its usability. It provides a hands-free, eyes-free way to interact with devices, making it especially beneficial for people with physical disabilities or those engaged in activities that prevent them from using their hands. VUI can also make technology more accessible to people who are not tech-savvy as it simplifies the interaction process.

However, VUI also presents several challenges. Privacy is a significant concern as these devices are often always listening, raising questions about data security and confidentiality. And although much improved, VUI technology can still struggle with understanding accents, dialects and background noise, potentially leading to frustrating user experiences.

Applications and use cases of VUI

The applications of VUI are wide-ranging and continue to expand. Smart home devices are a common application, enabling users to control their lights, thermostats and security systems with voice commands. Virtual assistants on smartphones and computers use VUI to answer questions and provide information, set reminders and even send messages on command.

It’s through these devices that VUI becomes a means to shop. When integrated with e-commerce platforms, a user can instruct their virtual assistant to make a purchase. And when it comes to customer service, VUI is increasingly used in interactive voice response (IVR) systems to handle customer inquiries without human intervention. This not only improves efficiency but also provides 24/7 support to customers.

What the future holds for VUI

The future of VUI is bright indeed, with continual advancements in artificial intelligence and machine learning expected to improve speech recognition accuracy even further. As these technologies develop, we can anticipate VUIs that are increasingly adept at understanding context and emotions and even predicting user needs based on past interactions.

As such, the application of VUI is set to expand far beyond current use cases. For instance, we could see more integration of VUI in vehicles for safer and more intuitive control.

First and foremost, it will be changing the way we interact with the web. The ease with which a user can search with verbal instructions or avoid complicated and frustrating navigation menus means VUI promises an efficiency boost. It’s hardly surprising then that more than half of US consumers already use voice search on a daily basis, according to research by UpCity.

Catering for VUI

This is why businesses would be wise to start thinking about optimising for voice search, which ultimately means aligning content with a natural way of speaking, as well as ensuring fast load times and an intuitive site structure through high-quality web development.

This is something we can help you to get right so that you don’t miss out on all that voice traffic. Users, especially younger ones, will ensure that VUI has a major part to play in the future of web interaction and becomes the norm for a wide range of other applications too. We can help you prepare for what’s to come with future-ready web design and development using Umbraco, so come and learn more about what we can do.

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