By requiring introductory words(“hey or ok Google”) as triggers, Google has forced an element of conversation – insight from a perspective of User Experience Designer, Johna Paolino.
Two Simple User Experience Design Gestures that Delighted a Female User.
I felt very unsettled and found myself constantly agitated as I observed my boyfriend bark commands at this black cylinder.
- Alexa, turn off the lights. Alexa, set my alarm for 8am
This declarative speech was so incongruous with how he interacts with me, with how he interacts with any human.
- Ok Google, play NPR news. Hey Google, set my alarm for 8am.
Why did these interactions suddenly feel so natural? They felt appropriate. In fact, I was delighted by my new Google Home.
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Although product features differ slightly, the root cause of my emotional shift had nothing to do with these capabilities. All the feelings I had for Alexa came down to two simplistic user experience design differences.
Was there a need to rename the voice component of these products? Why isn’t it Echo or Amazon? Why not Apple? By doing this, we’ve subconsciously constrained the capabilities of a female. With the Echo, we’ve even gone as far as to confine her to a home. The experience difference here is huge! When I return to Alexa now I feel authoritative.
The voice component of the Google Home however is simply triggered with “Google”. Google, a multinational, first-of-its-kind technology company. Suddenly a female’s voice represents a lot more. This made me happy.
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The advancement of feminism requires awareness from both genders. It isn’t isolated to how men treat women, but extends to how women treat each other. I am constantly making an effort to change my behaviors towards other women, and in this effort certainly prefer how I am asked to greet Google. Thank you Google for paying closer attention to the details, and to the female users.
P.s. If you’ve kids, give it a thought, what these interactions with digital assistants would teach them, how to ask for something. Little things like these, that you don’t even see, can make such a huge difference, as they grow up.
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