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Alexa, Tell Me About Ethics: Incorporating Ethical Considerations into Voice Design

About the Talk

March 23, 2018 1:15 PM

Chicago, IL

Chicago, IL

"Just in the past two years, the presence and use of voice-first interactions has grown exponentially. In the majority of interactions, users request information from their devices without the benefit of a visual interface. Both the structure and sound of how that information is conveyed, impacts how the user processes the information and, in certain cases, how they act in response to it. In this talk, you’ll get a look at the various voice design principles and structural components, and learn how each of these elements can impact the ethics of the design. Using examples from the industry at large, as well as pulling from their own work with sensitive information in the healthcare industry, Senior Interactive Communication Designers Diana Deibel and Ilana Shalowitz will guide you through how voice designers can assess their own designs to ensure they meet the necessary ethical standards.

Elements we’ll look at will include (with written and/or audio examples of each): Brevity – one of the major design principles is “keep it short” – but that inevitably means cutting out some information which could be crucial to a subset of users Sequence – the order in which you list the information with no visual input becomes vital to the person listening’s ability to remember what is said and act on it Priority – if you want to direct someone to potentially 5 pieces of information or action, prioritizing by goal is crucial – and sometimes things need to be left out if there is an action required by the user Tone – a more serious tone vs a more casual tone vs a more comforting tone – how do those change the perception of what’s said Cadence –emphasizing words or dropping the voice in certain parts of a statement draws attention or hides information from users Pacing - different populations (rural South vs Northeast US) retain information better with different speeds of audio delivery Listenability – what happens when you dump a ton of information on people without pauses, questions, or other recuperation for their brain to process what’s been said? Ethics of the “pharma side effects scroll” when it happens aurally – specifically trying to get away with “well, I said it” while knowing people won’t listen Linguistic choices – certain phrasings will prompt people into behaviors more than others, it’s important to keep ethics in the forefront to prevent manipulation"

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