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 within 15 months 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
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.
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...