Function before form. This is one of the basic principles of design, and something that should be fully taken into consideration whenever we are pushing for technological advancement.
It’s easy to fall back to the temptation of creating new things just because of the novelty or the playfulness of it. But this is thinking about the solution before understanding the problem.
Think about our relationship with doors: should we pull or push? It might sound silly, but an object such as this shouldn’t require any kind of usage instructions, and yet we keep seeing signs telling us how to operate them. Even worse, sometimes there are no instructions at all and you still struggle, unaware of which direction the door should move. That’s caused by a simple lack of clear visual input.
Obvious, but brilliant
The above example clearly illustrates the kind of advancement philosophy we should keep in mind while pushing for innovation. By eliminating the visual ambiguity that would leave doubt for pushing or pulling, people can easily interact with such a door without second-guessing or looking for instructions.
The same goes for the tech market: sometimes it’s not about creating a new door, but it’s how you present such a door that really pushes the technology forward. You create a solution for a basic problem.
We’re still threading the usage of voice technology, and sometimes if we keep forcing users to have experiences that are not as smooth as it should be might stagnate the development.
For example, if you have to repeat several times instructions to a voice-activated assistant such as Siri or Alexa – due to background noise, different accents, or anything else -, wouldn’t it be easier to keep using text before the technology works flawlessly?
Instead, we should push the consumer to adopt interfaces that are already working seamlessly, such as voice-based appointment reminders. This is already the ideal solution for handling appointments since there are no interface hiccups regarding the usage of voice technology. The API can easily handle scheduling to trigger the necessary message that a customer might need.
But while voice output is a fine solution to a problem, voice input might not be there yet.