Banking, healthcare, and consumer industries are likely to lead the race of adopting voice technology, says research by Statista. Voice technology in diverse forms is influencing both the physical and digital world and has become one of the leading phygital solutions globally. One popular application of voice-powered technology is the voice user interface or VUI. Since the release of Siri and Alexa, we are witnessing the ever-growing popularity of Voice User Interface (VUI) technology. 

Commanding machines via voice instead of pressing buttons or clicking icons on a screen are shaping the present and, likely, the immediate future. With VUI, we are living the ultimate fantasy. 

The rapid VUI adoption across different business industries is already visible and significantly influences web development. Websites and apps playing songs over voice commands are something we all use regularly. 

Soon, navigating digital platforms will be free from the burden of scrolls and clicks with the application of VUI. Leveraging VUI in web development will help you create future-proof business solutions.

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What is VUI?

The VUI technology allows us to interact with machines via speech recognition. The best examples are Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, etc. VUI eliminates the need for physical touch between humans and machines, as users do not need to rely on the conventional keyboard-mouse-monitor setup or touch screen.

Voice acts as a primary mode of interaction in VUI-powered devices. This powers users with quicker task execution and bridges the gap between the physical & digital worlds. Ultimately it boosts the user experience with a more connected look and feel for the users.

Decoding VUI – 4 Main Components

Understanding the working of VUI requires you to inspect or analyze the four major components as follows:

1. Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR)

The ASR is responsible for converting voice, whether commands/queries/audio/spoken language, into written texts. In short, the ASR ensures that the system can capture the voice interaction initiated by the user.

The working of ASR involves the following:

  • Preprocessing
  • Acoustic Modeling
  • Language Modeling
  • Decoding
  • Post-processing

2. Natural Language Understanding (NLU)

The NLU is responsible for accurately understanding the received communication from the user. So, the natural language processing unit assigns accurate and fixed meaning to users’ intent or voice commands.

NLU deploys several techniques and algorithms:

  • Syntax Analysis
  • Semantic Understanding
  • Intent Recognition
  • Contextual Understanding
  • Slot Filling

3. Text-to-Speech Conversion

This technology converts the generated text into audible speech to provide users with an interactive voice response. This is helpful in VUI involving two-way voice interface communication between the user and the machine.

Text to Speech conversion involves the following processes:

  • Text Processing
  • Linguistic Analysis
  • Prosody Modeling
  • Speech Synthesis
  • Voice Selection
  • Output Delivery

4. Dialog Management

Dialog management is the VUI component responsible for handling the flow of communication and ensuring smooth interaction between the man and machine. 

Various aspects of dialog management are:

  • Context Tracking
  • Prompting & User Input
  • Intent Recognition
  • System Response Generation
  • Multi-Turn Conversation
  • Error Handling and Recovery

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How Does the VUI Work?

The voice user interface allows users to interact with the device via speech or voice and works in the following four steps:

  • ASR picks up the initiated interaction 
  • NLU decodes & assigns the meaning of the received query, command, or speech
  • The device-generated response is converted to speech 
  • Dialog management ensures a smooth interaction between the user and the device

In the case of commands, the received voice speech translated into the text is used for command execution. 

In queries or speech, the VUI translates the device-generated text response into a voice response for the user.

Standard Use Cases of Voice User Interface Technology:

  • Voice Search & Virtual Assistants – Examples include Siri and Alexa
  • Smart-Home Integrations – Controlling light, AC, thermostat, security, etc.
  • Voice Shopping or Voice-Activated Commerce – Shopping via voice commands

The Impact of Voice User Interface Technology on Web Development

The global impact of VUI technology is visible in web development. People find VUI-enabled apps and websites more user-friendly and have a connected user experience.

Overall, VUI impacts the world of web development in the following three ways:

  • Enhances user experience of the websites and apps
  • Inclusive web designs for the end users 
  • Scope for greater accessibility and inclusivity

Let’s inspect these three benefits in detail.

Enhances User-Experience of the Websites and Apps

1. Voice Based Interaction 

Unlike scrolls and clicks, voice-based interactions are more seamless for websites and app users. Moreover, voice-based interaction with apps does not require users to be constantly hooked on the screen. 

2. Relieve User Hands and Eyes

With voice user interface technology, application users need not constantly hold their devices or look over the screen. For example, via Bluetooth headsets, users can command the app for specific actions without looking at their phones. People often use this feature to make phone calls, read texts, etc. 

3. Quicker Task Execution

VUI leads to faster execution of tasks. Whether it’s about switching to different apps or performing several tasks on the same application, a voice user interface leads to faster outcomes.

For example, imagine typing texts to search “best web development outsource company”. You need to spend anywhere between 30 to 50 seconds to open the search engine, further type and enter the search icon. 

In contrast, when you can ask the virtual assistant to search the term with the VUI-enabled apps, the task takes less than 5 seconds to complete. You will have the list of the best web development outsourcing companies to go through in both voice and written format. 

4. Anyone Can Learn its Use in a Few Minutes

One of the best features of VUI technology is its ease of use. People from Gen X, Y, and Z do not have to spend several hours or minutes to understand how to use it. A few minutes and, in most cases, a few seconds, and people master its use.

Inclusive Web Designs for the End Users

1. Ease-of-Use

Imagine a physically challenged app user trying to search for specific garments online. It can be gruesome in certain cases, especially if someone is suffering from motor disability over the hand or fingers. Designing voice user interfaces powered shopping sites allows physically challenged people to shop independently without asking anyone for assistance.

An eCommerce development company can create a user-friendly VUI-enabled shopping site that drives a higher conversion rate. Many eCommerce companies target products and services specifically for physically challenged audiences. They should integrate their website and apps with voice user interface design for a more user-friendly client experience. 

2. Greater Personalization

Combined with artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies, VUI ensures greater personalization for the application users. The touch and view-free technology ensures a more connected user experience for the app users. 

Scope for Greater Accessibility & Inclusivity

1. User-friendly Option for People Suffering from Motor or Cognitive Disabilities 

People suffering from arthritis or joint pain in the fingers or hands find it difficult to hold devices like smartphones, tablets, etc., or scroll pages. Similarly, people suffering from paralysis, tremors, and cognitive disabilities also find it complicated to use digital platforms.

With the voice user interface technology-based web app, you can ensure greater inclusivity and seamless accessibility for physically challenged people. 

2. Goodbye to Language Barriers

Voice user interface technology is not limited to English or any other language. Web visitors and app users can use this futuristic technology in multiple languages, eliminating language barriers between the companies and their target audience.   

Wrapping Up

That was all about voice user interface and how it’s influencing the world of web development. People are hooked on this technology, and updating existing websites and apps is vital to stay up-to-date with it.

At Nethues, you can hire a dedicated developers team to create VUI-enabled web solutions or upgrade your existing ones with this futuristic technology. We have skilled experts with 5+ years of hands-on experience in leading web technologies.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What are the challenges of the Voice User Interface?

Ans. Although VUI is shaping to be a leading disruptive technology, there are various challenges related to this technology. 

Some of the leading issues with VUI are:

  • The problem in recognizing different accents and pronunciation
  • Data security issues as there’s a higher risk of privacy with voice-enabled commands
  • Voice recognition sometimes fails to understand what usrs are trying to search

Q2. What are some well-known examples of Voice user interfaces?

Ans. Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant, and Amazon’s Alexa are the three most renowned examples of VUI.

Q3. Why should you use a voice user interface?

Ans. VUI enables users with a hands-free, eyes-free digital experience and is a seamless phygital solution for different business categories. People can use the digital platform while engaged in other tasks or activities in the physical world.

Author’s Bio

Amit Singla - Software Engineer

With a vision to explore the how’s and why’s of the development world, Amit is the guy to call for Magento, PrestaShop and Core PHP.

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