Tom Coates on Conversational Devices

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  1. Cathy Pearl on voice user interfaces for bots

    The O’Reilly Bots Podcast: Applying the principles of normal human interaction to chatbots.In episode four of the O’Reilly Bots podcast, Pete Skomoroch and I speak with Cathy Pearl, director of user experience at Sensely, and author of the forthcoming O’Reilly book “Designing Voice User Interfaces.” She’s also a speaker at O’Reilly’s upcoming Bot Day on October 19, 2016, in San Francisco.We begin with some differences between VUIs and conventional UIs. Pearl points out that “the key to conversational design is anticipating how people actually speak, not how we want them to speak.”

    The Amazon Echo, which we demonstrated in detail in episode 3, keeps coming up as a totally new mode of user interface; not only is it an exclusively voice-based interface with no built-in screen, but it’s also fundamentally social, intended for use in common spaces. Like Siri, the Echo has careful persona design, with subtle signals that help users figure out how to interact with it (as well as keeping them entertained).


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    Pete and I stage a dramatic reading from Sensay, a chatbot that connects users with expert advice.

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  2. Voice Design 101

    Learn how to design a robust voice user interface (VUI) with Alexa, Amazon’s voice service and the brain behind millions of devices including Amazon Echo. We’ll also share our learnings from our pioneering work in the field of voice design.

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  3. “Evangelizing and Designing Voice User Interface: Adopting VUI in a GUI world” Stephen Gay & Susan Hura

    Evangelizing and designing voice user interface in an organization with a long GUI-only history. Apple’s Siri and Google Now have ignited consumers’ interest in voice user interface (VUI) by delivering valuable and delightful customer experiences. Innovative companies can leverage VUI solutions to create a competitive advantage. But how do you drive the adoption of VUI in an organization with a long GUI-only history? We’ll share the frameworks we used to evangelize VUI, offer key insights and design principles to help you start your own grassroots VUI movement, and provide best practices and a VUI brainstorming canvas. The session will include: •Share a “human centric” story about the ups and downs of evangelizing VUI •Share in-house developed VUI prototypes and great external examples Participants will walk away with: •4 VUI behavior themes •4 VUI opportunities (for future brainstorming using VUI canvas) •5 key strategies to evangelize VUI •5 VUI design principles for the creative process

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  4. Build Voice-Enabled Devices with Amazon Alexa

    If you’re new to voice user interface (VUI) design or you just want to learn more about AVS, this webinar covers key concepts and examples around hardware selection, how to enable hands-free voice interaction, and how to build a robust Alexa Voice Service client. Visit to learn more.

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  5. The O’Reilly Bots Podcast: Tom Coates on conversational devices

    In this episode of the O’Reilly Bots Podcast, I speak with Tom Coates, co-founder of Thington, a service layer for the Internet of Things. Thington provides a conversational, messaging-like interface for controlling devices like lights and thermostats, but it’s also conversational at a deeper level: its very architecture treats the interactions between different devices like a conversation, allowing devices to make announcements to any other device that cares to listen.

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  6. Add Pop and Practicality with a Clean User Interface | JNUC 2014

    House cleaning, Spring cleaning, and now…user interface cleaning? Yes! This session will discuss how important a clean and consistent user interface can be—not only for software distribution—but for any type of interaction you may have with your users. Join us as we dive into methods of communicating with end users through Self Service, user dialogues, and take an in-depth look at different ways to interact with your business partners using both built-in and third party tools. This session shows what a clean and concise interface can do for your company.

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