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books must read hmi voice interfaces

Voice interfaces and human-computer interaction: 4 books you can’t miss

17 Jul 2019

Our relationship with technology is evolving rapidly. This progression entails changes in the design of machine interfaces, as well as in our adapting interaction and learned behaviours. The literature is already following this process with great interest, making hypotheses about the future and drawing lessons for everyday life. Here at Snips, we strive to make technology disappear in the sense that in this era of Ubiquitous Computing, connected devices should add value rather than friction to our lifestyle. We work to make voice AI technology deeply integrated in the world around us, so much so that we simply won’t notice it anymore. Artificial Intelligence will have made technology disappear from our consciousness, and the world will feel “unplugged”.

To catch up with our evolving relationship with voice technology, we’ve curated a list of the top books that you don’t want to miss. They are books we can’t put down and have led to many a vibrant lunchtime discussion here in our office. And conveniently make a perfect choice to pack for the beach this summer!

Designing Voice User Interfaces: How to Create Engaging and Compelling Experiences

By Cathy Pearl

A great book for anyone who is beginning their journey with voice interfaces, as well as for professionals interested in deepening their knowledge on the subject. The author, Cathy Pearl, has deep experience with human-machine interaction (HMI), psychology, and artificial intelligence across many different industries, and in these pages we have an authentic proof of her hands-on proficiency of the subject.

You can expect to find a practical guide, starting from evaluating the needs of a voice interface, all the way to advanced VUI design topics. It describes the voice technologies currently available, with insights and real use cases, while demonstrating that throughout those different tools the actual process for delivering good user experience does not change.

Perfect for:

VUI designers and product managers who want to learn VUI principles and whose purpose is to create a human, natural, and compelling user experience.

Talk to Me: How Voice Computing Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Think

By James Vlahos

First published in March 2019, this book has already become a must read. Vlahos not only outlines the history of home assistants and the evolution of voice computing in relation to Big Tech, he also presents extensive research exploring the future implications of these technologies across every sector of our society. With a great balance of tech info, anecdotes, and humor, Talk to Me is written for a popular audience, but it will still engage the techie in you. 

“Conversational AI is a genuine paradigm shift in our experience with technology. Vlahos brings the whole story to life, from the big picture historical context to the impact on our intimate personal lives. A thoughtful and enjoyable read.”

Tom Gruber, co-creator of Siri
Perfect for:

Anyone who wants to understand how conversational AI is reshaping the way humans relate to machines and wants to reflect about the future. No technical knowledge needed.

Wired for Speech: How Voice Activates and Advances the Human-Computer Relationship

By Clifford Nass and Scott Brave

Gender stereotyping, personality, and speech accents are only a few of the topics addressed in Wired for Speech. Every chapter discusses a voice design issue and the experiments done in the area of voice human-computer interaction.

Following ten years of research, Nass and Brave put forth a deeply insightful book that demonstrates how people respond and react to voice in the same way. Whether the voice actually comes from a person or a computer.

Perfect for:

Voice designers, marketers, and scientists who want to gain insights on how to build more effective interfaces.

The Man Who Lied to His Laptop: What We Can Learn About Ourselves from Our Machines

By Clifford Nass and Corina Yen

Staying at the intersection of technology, sociology, and psychology, Nass and Yen explore plenty of amusing studies and experiments on a broad array of topics. A treaty on human behaviour that presents a set of principles for successful human relationships, Nass and Yen draw from a study of the interaction of humans with computers. Once again, they point out that, as much as we deny it, we do indeed treat machines like humans. We anthropomorphize inanimate objects and we sometimes lie to interactive technologies to not hurt their non-existent feelings!

Perfect for:

Learning about human-human interaction revealed through human-computer interaction experiments, especially in business frameworks.

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