When you create a new app the foremost thought on your mind is how to make it user-friendly. It sounds easy, but that last part, the user-friendliness, is easier said than done. And it happens to be one of the most important and most difficult parts of creating products.
Anyone in the software industry can confirm that users’ reactions to the first version of your application will likely be very different from your expectations.
First impressions are crucial. When you launch a new application, you have a small window of opportunity to learn from your users and adjust. You must identify pain points and continuously adjust the application’s interface to make sure your users receive the optimal experience.
Why do many good apps fail
The gap between developer vision and user experience is the reason why many applications die. Although many app ideas may be excellent at first glimpse, apps usually fall flat due to poor execution, poor design choices, and clunky user interfaces. Good products die because their teams don’t learn to adapt to their users’ needs and preferences. Today’s applications — especially in the enterprise and workplace domain — have very complicated user interfaces and features. It is easy to confuse users and hard to find the best layout that will put the right features front and center.
How to create optimal user interfaces
Creating the optimal user interface and experience hinges on two key factors. First, developers and product managers need the right tools to gather relevant data and learn from users’ interactions with their applications. And second, they need the tools to quickly iterate and update their user interface.
Big software companies can overcome these challenges by hiring many developers working in parallel on different versions of an application’s user interface. They can roll out and manage complicated A/B/n tests and hire analytics experts to steer their way toward the optimal user interface.
A new generation of voice assistants is going to change the game soon.
Improving the user journey
First impressions and experience of an app will have a profound impact on users’ retention. If a user quickly finds their way around the interface and gets to experience the app’s true value, they will likely use it again and recommend it to their friends. However, if they get stumped on their first attempt at navigating the app, they will become disenchanted and divert their attention to something else.
But don’t lose heart. Just like an author cannot please all his/her readers, it is rare to find a user interface that appeals to all your users.
The way forward
Imagine a voice assistant that is deeply integrated into your application and can guide the user through the features. If users are struggling to find something in the app, they can just ask the assistant and it will either take them there or guide them to it.
This can be extremely helpful in the onboarding process, where users often become confused and need guidance. As users become familiar with the application, the assistant’s role will gradually change from guidance to optimization, helping them automate tasks and take shortcuts to their favorite features.
In-app voice assistants offer unprecedented flexibility
The in-app voice assistant provides unprecedented flexibility to adjust the application with the user’s level of knowledge, experience, and expertise. A voice assistant, however, can act as a dynamic interface that can be used in various ways, providing each user with a unique experience.
Basically, instead of having your users adapt themselves to a very convoluted user interface, having an in-app voice assistant makes a simple user interface that adapts to your users.
For both new and experienced users, the voice assistant can be a huge differentiating factor that can improve conversion and retention rates.
Improving product development
Having an in-app voice assistant is the closest thing you can get to being physically present when users are interacting with your app.
As you gather voice and app analytics data, you’ll be able to answer pertinent questions such as “On which pages are users getting stuck?” “What features are they struggling to find?” “What are the most asked questions?” “What features do users expect the app to have?” Through this data, you’ll be able to glean important behavior patterns of your users.
The challenge in creating good products
Discovering users’ needs is one side of the equation. Responding to them is another and equally challenging part of creating good products. The classic product development paradigm requires you to redesign your application’s user interface, submit it to app stores, wait for it to be vetted and published, and then roll it out to users.
With in-app voice assistants, the interface is already there, so in most cases, you won’t need to make any change to the graphical interface and can roll out new features on the server-side with minimal friction.
Why voice assistants have gained popularity
You may be wondering why you should be focusing on in-app voice experience now?
The first generation of assistants such as Siri, Alexa, and Cortana have helped bring about wide acceptance of voice user interfaces. Today, a wide array of consumer and industrial devices support voice assistants. Millions of families across the world use smart speakers and other voice-enabled devices. Voice accounts for a substantial share of online search queries.
The next generation of voice assistants will live inside applications and will be deeply integrated with the app’s user interface, workflow, taxonomy, and user context. This shift in architecture will enable developers to use various data sources and contexts to improve the quality and precision of in-app voice recognition and language understanding.
This new generation of assistants makes it possible for voice to become an integral part of the app experience.