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One of the annoying parts of a non-working voice interaction is not knowing whether the device actually heard a request. This becomes especially apparent when there’s a delay in the response from the device.

I’ve found that the problem can be even further amplified when you can’t see any lights from the device. The Google Home — both mini and regular — seem especially prone to this. The LEDs on the top of the device or through the fabric of the mini don’t give off much light. The Echo, on the other hand, gives off a very visible ring.

The difference that having a light can make can be seen in the FABRIQ Chorus vs the Echo. The Chorus puts the LED light right on the bottom, making it less visible, requiring one to look and see if they’ve been heard more often than with the Echo.

Some rules one can draw from this on voice first devices:

  • If the response time is slow, add an audio acknowledgement of trigger
  • If you can incorporate a visual acknowledgement, do so and make it bright
  • For the first bullet, if you normally don’t use a tone but then the Internet becomes slow, add the tone

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Independent daily thoughts on all things future, voice technologies and AI. More at http://linkedin.com/in/grebler

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