Alexa Notifications and Interruption Model

Alexa Notifications and Interruption Model

Upon joining the central Alexa Voice Design team in late 2015, my first order of business was to tackle a complicated systems design problem: how could we adapt a primarily single-threaded, voice-forward, reactive experience to allow proactive notifications? There was a great deal of caution surrounding the effort, as our product has been invited into homes, and we did not want to violate that trust. Further complicating matters was the as-then-unannounced Echo Show, which completely changed the interaction paradigm. While Echo had not supported large-scale multitasking, the Echo Show introduced the concept of navigation and a sort of back stack.…
Read More
Alexa: Do Not Disturb

Alexa: Do Not Disturb

In parallel with our efforts on Alexa Notifications, I was asked to drive the completion of the Do Not Disturb feature. DND applied not just to Notifications but to Communications (calls/messaging), which meant a separate team of stakeholders and faster deadlines than the longer-term Notifications project. As with Alexa Notifications, I led the design side of this effort in partnership with Carl Mekala (and Sharbani Roy) from the product management team. This was my most "traditional" VUI design engagement during my time on the Alexa team - while some was new-product (Echo Look) and some was more systems design (Notifications/Interrupt…
Read More
Windows Automotive Notifications

Windows Automotive Notifications

Many of our in-vehicle apps needed to provide information to the driver, and expected the same interruption models they enjoy on mobile phones. However, in an automotive environment, interruptions threaten the driver’s safety. Our solutions had to work in a multimodal environment, with potential touch, voice or hardware input. We designed, tested and implemented a notifications system that optimized for drive-related, time-sensitive notifications where a simple binary action can be taken in the vehicle. Logistics Work on the Windows Automotive design team was broken into 2-week Agile sprints: each sprint was either Design/Exploration, Prototyping, Research, or Final Design Delivery. Phases…
Read More