Voice Interfaces: Assessing the Potential

Jakob Nielsen says, in Alertbox, that voice interfaces have the greatest potential in the immediate future when they can be applied to situations where the traditional keyboard-mouse-monitor combination are problematic, e.g. users with disabilities, phone systems, cars. He adds that "visual interfaces can communicate much more information than auditory interfaces whenever users have a monitor and are capable of looking at it. And that "voice interfaces hold their greatest promise as an additional component to a multi-modal dialogue, rather than as the only interface channel."

It's fun to note that Jakob uses a HipTop. He's got a good suggestion for how to make voice alerts usable, if you want to have your phone tell you, "Your mother is calling". Would you really want that, though?

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Yes.

We have an AT&T phone that integrates caller id with up to 10 recordable messages it will play aloud based on the numbers it sees. We have "stop fucking and pick up the phone!", which my friend Matt recorded for himself, and "Linda" and "Dad" and "Telemarketer." etc. etc. Very useful... wish it had more spots.