Designing Your Interface for Voice Input
Voice input is most effective when it is constrained and has clearly defined starting and stopping points. Design your interface so the user has a clear indication for when to provide voice input.
Here is what that means from an interface perspective:
- Use a button press or other method to activate voice input; having your application “listen in the background” for a particular command is inefficient.
- The method you choose to activate voice input should complement the device or platform for which you are designing. For example, if the device has a natural hard-button typically designed for activating voice input, consider utilizing it so that the user isn’t deviating from what they already know.
- Provide feedback indicating the user should give speech input to your application. This can be accomplished through the use of an animated image or something as simple as text indicating the user should ‘talk now.’
- Avoid the use of the word ‘recording’ and associated red indicator light unless you really are recording the contents of the user’s speech.
- Provide a mechanism for ending voice input. A 2-second silence is one mechanism; however, you should incorporate a manual mechanism (e.g., button press) as well. Long periods of silence increase processing time.
How are you using voice input? Please share any additional recommendations you may have in the comments box below!