What's Out There

WORDS ARE IN. CLICKS ARE OUT.  Voice is the today user interface. And it will last more than the customary 15 minutes of fame.

In fact, we confidently predict that the mouse will give way to voice for executives in banking, insurance, legal and brokerage professions. Who wouldn't want that competitive edge which a savvy, "understanding" computer would bring not only to daily routines in the office but also to customer transactions?

Today's speech recognition products are sophisticated, accurate programs which stand head and shoulders above yesterday's attempts. Those early software programs required a staccato, chopped use of the voice. Their appeal did not extend beyond the computer literate market. Now, being able to talk to your computer just like you would to your friend, changes all that.

More Than Just Cute...

It is easy, however, to dismiss these products as merely slick, high productivity dictation or word processing environments. That misses one of the key features -- voice macros.

What does a voice macro do? It allows the user to capture and encapsulate an arbitrary series of keystrokes (and mouse clicks) into a format which can be triggered by a normal office utterance. A voice macro may also cause the computer to talk back and work like an unpaid secretary. For example, a voice macro could be made which would understand you as you say "Read my mail" - then the whole sequence of connecting to the Internet, clicking the right icons and such happens for you with the computer's voice doing the reading.

These new capabilities, combined with careful attention to dialogue design, enable powerful application interactions which operate outside of the standard dictation context. Voice controlled actions can then be not only user-friendly, but more to the point, user convenient and user natural.

Executive alert...

As consumer speech products proliferate, there will soon be massive demand inside the company for this caliber of sophisticated speech recognition and for external web sites that use speech. That translates into corporate initiatives which will then require designers and consultants who understand the subtleties of computer/human dialogue design.

More: the executive view...
More: the developer view...




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Page Last Updated: 07/21/01