We love voice and conversational interfaces. And we are always open to innovative collaborations and idea exchange.
In the next minutes, you will read about our inspiring collaboration between VUI.agency and the AMD Akademie Mode & Design in Munich, where eleven students explored the future of voice, and developed a future scenario. Under the guidance of some of VUI.agency’s specialists, the students went through all the phases of the design thinking process and developed a voice project prototype.
With this project, we also introduced the students to some of the central methods that we use in our projects with top DACH companies, including persona design, future trend analysis, problem solving, innovation design, and design thinking.
How did the idea of the collaboration between VUI.agency and AMD Akademie Mode & Design Munich come about
In March 2020, I organized my graduating exhibition at the AMD Akademie Mode & Design in Munich and one thing led to another: Prof. Katharina Klug, an expert in digital communication (e.g. chatbot communication and affective computing) and also my lecturer for marketing, heard about VUI.agency and our work in the field of voice user interface design and the holistic design. It turned out that the upcoming winter semester was perfect for developing a joint workshop with the “Innovation Management & Design (B.A.)” 3rd-semester students.
“It was great to think about the future of voice in 2050 together with Kim and Ray from VUI.agency and the Design and Innovation Management students. The students got to experience how challenging and exciting it can be to develop a voice vision of the future and to present concrete ideas realistically and convincingly. I am impressed with what the three teams achieved and especially with how much effort they put into the project. Kim and Ray were great guides throughout this whole process. Keep it up and the future will develop wonderfully with voice!”
/ Prof. Dr. Katharina Klug, Marketing professor at AMD Akademie Mode & Design Munich
In October 2020, the project started with a guest lecture held by VUI.agency’s co-founder Patrick Esslinger on the topic of “Virtual Assistants – the Future of Brand Identity?”
Why is working with future scenarios so interesting
A counter question. What added value do you create if you develop a product that, in the end, does not meet the needs of your customers in any way? And all this only because you missed out on looking at current trends and the resulting future developments ahead. Working with future scenarios is all about anticipating the future. Naming and describing it and in this way opening up the space to think about things in a new way.
How did we and the students arrive at a meaningful future scenario
Students always need concrete, specific tasks – but innovation managers usually do not work this way. Ideally, they devote themselves to large tasks so that they are not biased and thus limited in their thinking right from the start. The necessary “downsizing” and shaping of the respective project is carried out independently based on the research conducted, with the steps of insight being presented in a meaningful argumentation. The point is to show: How did I arrive at this conclusion? That is why we – meaning Ray, our Senior Voice / AI Experience Architect, and I from VUI.agency and Prof. Katharina Klug from AMD – designed the workshop to be practical and realistic, even at the risk of throwing the students into the deep end initially.
On a total of six dates, the students presented their new findings and approaches on voice user interface design in the form of an expert interview. They received feedback from their client – VUI.agency – and the other participants. The project lead the students through all phases of an iterative design thinking process to create a user centric prototype as a final result.
While developing a prototype for their tasks, the students worked with the following methods:
In order to develop a user-oriented product, they researched various user personas to test upcoming product ideas for applicability and benefit.
Future trend analysis
To make sure that the product is future-proofed, they analysed influential current trends and anticipated their further development.
Future scenario design
From the anticipation of the trend development analysis, they created future-oriented scenarios for the user personas to test the prototype against the future environment on this basis.
With the help of the developed user personas, the future trend analysis, and the future scenario design, they developed a future-oriented product that is tailored to the user.
In order to implement the product idea, they applied creative problem-solving techniques, which iteratively affected the initial product idea.
What are important key aspects of working as an innovation manager
Staying open to new topics and methods
To be successful as an innovation designer or manager and to be able to assess current and future developments, it is important to be open to new topics and methods, and to the holistic design approach. Initially, the students were critical of the field of voice technology, especially with the aspect of protecting the users’ privacy. Despite their initial reluctance, we managed to convey one of the core values of VUI.agency to the students during the project: by working as an innovation designer, you have the chance to actively shape the future and thus help to shape it the way you want it to be.
Seeing constructive feedback as a gift
A piece of one’s own personality is often found in much of what designers create. Here, the particular form of the design activity does not play a role. Heart and soul, dedication, and one’s own creativity are represented. Under these circumstances, how do you separate your professional and private life? It is important to realize that constructive feedback is always a gift and criticism is not an attack on a personal level, but purely work-related and important for personal growth. As well as, incorporating different perspectives always leads to a result that is more holistic and multi-layered than the original idea.
How can VUI.agency become the leading voice agency in 2050
The challenges this question poses, the further questions it raises, and the far-reaching research required for a meaningful answer must be taken into account when developing the prototypes. As a first step, the students put on their “future voice agency glasses” and looked at the world and at voice user interface design through that perspective. What already exists – what does the world of voice look like today? Which trends can they identify, and what will everything look like in 2050?
What are the students’ predictions – where will voice be heading by 2050?
Group 1: Development of a corporate presentation
In 2050, VUI stands for Voicified Universe Interface. At that time, users will no longer access the internet the way they do today. Instead, they will access an augmented reality where navigation is done with the help of voice and brands advise users specifically on their individual wishes.
Group 2: The personal assistant
Umber is a microchip that can be attached to any technical device, thus turning any device into a voice assistant.
Group 3: The educational assistant at work
skilll stands for life-long learning and it is a software application that uses daily feedback and analyses to help with the targeted development of employees.
Why this project was important for us as agency
We were curious. The students are a target group with exciting views. We wanted to hear their fresh opinions, still “untouched” by the working world, and be inspired by them. How do these young people encounter voice technologies and voice user interface design? At the same time, we wanted to pass on knowledge and highlight the opportunities voice offers.
We are honored and inspired to incorporate the results of this workshop into our own work and would like to thank everyone involved for the great collaboration and for joining us for this innovation exercise.
Would you like to learn more about the components of a successful voice strategy for your own voice user interface? Reach out at us and discover our services.