Why voice UIs are the next big thing in web design

It's a weekday. I'm standing in my kitchen, jumping around between the counter-tops. Jam on toast, school uniforms, packed lunches, a crazy juggle to get everyone ready. In a moment of clarity, I realise I need to hear something to set a calm mood for the day. "Alexa, play 'Michael Bolton' on Spotify". The kids groan, and in seconds 'Can I touch you there?' fills the room with Michael's dulcet tones and 1980s ideas about romance. Aha! Mood perfection and child annoyance is complete. No screen, no looking, no physical movement, and most importantly, no touching. No touching, Mr Bolton. 

This is now possible with Amazon's Echo, an always-listening Wi-Fi speaker. It's one of those magical, once-in-a-blue-moon products like the iPhone. It recognises my words with remarkable reliability, even when shouted from the next room. It's become pretty central to our family life. And it's got me thinking about the changing nature of design and interaction.

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Ben specialises in UX, research and product strategy for companies including the BBC. He also mentors startups.