UX and Voice Recognition in the Car: Why Does it Matter?

May 19, 2020

Imagine you just bought a new mobile phone. You’re excited to try out its new features and share your experience with your friends and family. When the device arrives, you unpack the box and look at your new phone – which looks super cool! You push the power button and wait for it to boot up. Finally, the display shows the start menu and you see…nothing! No instructions, no help button, not even an option to select your language.

Instead, there’s some useless information about the software and a complex feature list – without insight on how to setup the phone. Getting frustrated, you check the box and locate a 50-page paper manual that explains how to import your contacts, set favorite options, etc. After two hours of studying the manual, your new phone is ready to use, but this bad experience leaves a sour taste in your mouth about the product and the company. What a bummer!

UX as essential criteria for buying a product  

In thinking through this scenario, you can see how critical it is for the mobile device manufacturer to support its user from the start – so that the initial set-up and discovering the new features is a pleasant experience. The user craves an intuitive process to get through the different setup menus, watch short tutorials about features, and easily import contacts, photos, etc.

Today, many mobile device manufacturers offer a positive, well thought-out first experience – and they do it because it is intuitive, useful and fun – all criteria that are contributing to the end users’ product experience and how they relate to their brand. Good user experience (UX) is one of the most important factors for a customer to perceive a product or system as necessary to buy and to remain loyal to a brand.

That’s why, now more than ever, it’s essential that automakers think about their in-car systems and the UX experience they offer the driver and passengers. It’s not just one of the biggest purchases of a user’s life, but also an important one as customers are increasingly relying on in-car assistants to access everything from navigation, weather, news and connected devices from the road.

UX in an in-car voice system

Cerence offers OEMs deep UX expertise through Cerence UX Services to gain insight into their voice systems – in part to make a driver’s initial introduction to a vehicle’s features and benefits easy-to-understand, intuitive and – most of all – fun. Our UX team specifically focuses on these and other usability criteria of the end user experience when reviewing voice recognition systems, covering aspects such as discoverability of features, explanation and usage of domains, and proper system feedback to the end user. Our mission is to ensure that dialog design and behavior of voice systems fulfill or exceed the end user expectations.

Recently, one of our OEM customers worked hard to differentiate its voice system from others by investing in innovative cloud features not yet on the market. They were engaging and intuitive  – if you knew they existed. Unfortunately, they were not introduced to the user at all. A driver could not locate them in the help menu or on the display. You’d only discover them if you read the manual, which, let’s face it, people rarely do!

Cerence’s UX team uncovered this issue and outlined the potential for high frustration and even usage rejection on the end user’s side. This, of course, would not lead to customer satisfaction or brand loyalty. So, we recommended concrete and easy-to-tackle improvements, like short “advertisements” on the display or quick tutorials, combined with detailed information about each feature in the respective help domain menu, which significantly improves the end user confidence and excitement when interacting with the speech system.

Through our UX Services, Cerence investigates pains and valuable gains of an automaker’s voice recognition system, providing concrete guidance for easy-to-realize improvements during system development, based on our proficiency in both technology and UX best practices. This way, when a driver gets into a brand-new car, he or she will not have an experience like I outlined earlier with the smartphone example.

With the goal of delivering the very best user experience for your brand and your customers, we look forward to also being your UX partner.

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