Since beginning my journey in voice user interfaces, I’ve been deeply passionate about the space. One of my motivations for leaving Amazon was to gain the freedom to engage with the broader community about conversational UI theory, since I was largely prevented from that kind of outreach when working on confidential products. Since that departure, I’ve engaged with the broader design community in a myriad of ways on this evolving topic.
My book on multimodal design
Conversational designs don’t exist in a vacuum. Most conversational designers have to wrestle with multimodality: the use of multiple input or output modalities simultaneously or sequentially as part of an interaction, in addition to the conversation itself. In December 2020, my book Design Beyond Devices: Creating Multimodal, Cross-Device Experiences was released by Rosenfeld Media. I am the first author in the industry to provide concrete models and guidance for blending voice user interfaces with other modalities at scale in a dedicated format. For more information on my book, see my author case study elsewhere on this site, or visit my book page on the Rosenfeld Media website.
Featured writer on Medium
My work on conversational UI has been featured multiple times on Medium’s homepage, and my piece exploring politeness in conversational user interfaces was given top placement on Medium’s site in May 2018. In addition, I’ve had several pieces featured by the official Microsoft Design publication and Prototypr.io. Some of my key pieces: (see all of my work on Medium, including pieces beyond conversational UI, here)
- Voice User Interface Design: New Solutions to Old Problems (featured on Microsoft Design)
- The Narrowing Rift: Voice UI and Conversational UI
- Voice UI Best Pracrices: Learning from IVR phone systems
- Blind spots in today’s voice user interfaces
- Pretty Please, Alexa (Member Feature Story, May 2018)
- Conversational UI: Five Danger Zones
- AI for Good: Smart Homes and Abuse
In February 2017, my workshop “Giving Voice to your Voice Designs” debuted as a half-day workshop at Interaction ’17 in New York City. Since then, I’ve presented the workshop to hundreds of people in over a dozen cities around the world – demand was so high I founded my company, Ideaplatz, to officially facilitate this outreach. I’ve now delivered that workshop in direct and remote formats on four continents and in over a dozen countries. For more information about my voice design workshop, see the Giving Voice to Your Voice Designs page on the Ideaplatz website.
With the release of my new book, I’m now launching a Multimodal Design Fundamentals workshop series, which includes a lighter Multimodal Voice Design masterclass for existing voice designers looking to layer multimodality onto their existing conversational designs. This workshop was first delivered at UxLX Masters 2021 to strong participant feedback. For more information on the Multimodal Design Fundamentals series, see the Ideaplatz website.
I’ve also expanded my speaking repertoire to include some future-looking talks about conversational UI. “The Future of Voice” debuted to 1200 attendees at Webdagene 2017 in Norway, and has subsequently been featured at a wide variety of venues including Amuse 2018 in Budapest, Microsoft Researchin 2017, and UX London in 2018. It was recently updated in 2021 to reflect post-COVID industry conditions.
In June 2018, I debuted a new AI-focused talk, “Opti-pessimism”, to the developer audience at DevIT 360 in Greece. That talk evolved into a well-received keynote which has now been delivered on three continents: at Interaction 19 Latin America, UX Scotland 19, and World Usability Day Puget Sound 2020. The keynote version of this talk cannot be embedded but can be viewed directly on Vimeo.