I designed an Amazon Alexa skill to help laundry-doers plan the laundry with voice only.
Skills are apps for Amazon's voice UI platform, Alexa.
Laundroom Alexa is a follow-up project of Laundroom , which I initiated in 2016.
It helps Laundroom users to plan for laundry duty with voice only. Learn more about Laundroom mobile app and Laundroom watch app here.
This project is a voice interface design challenge that I set for myself. I aimed to apply Voice User Interface (VUI) design method to create a functional and delightful voice-driven experience for Laundroom users. This project has nothing to do with Amazon Alexa brand.
This project has nothing to do with the actual Amazon Alexa brand.
Create a functional voice-driven experience for Laundroom users.
In this voice UI project, my design tool shrinks to pure language and system logic, leaving out any visual elements that I have previously designed for Laundroom apps.
This simplification process pushes me to design “interfacelessly”. For example, I have to pay attention to the interaction of the system flow and the user flow, timeline of speaking, and the pauses between sentences to make sure neither Alexa nor the user is confused.
Voice interaction design is not just about thinking in Alexa’s language, but also about merging human and Alexa language to create mutual understanding. I believe this is the core value of a digital product designer.
I really enjoy exploring possibilities through writing storylines. I hope you will enjoy sharing this project.
I combined contextual design methodology with Amazon's Alexa Voice Design Guide to bridge human language with machine language.
Is voice interaction necessary? Is it better than interface interaction? Does the use scenario actually exist? I proceeded if and only if my answers are all yes.
If there is any machine available at the moment
When is the best time to do laundry
When will the laundry be done
Quickly check machine availability with voice only
Get the soonest completion time without calculating
Receive notifications when clothes are ready
Scenarios to initiate a talk with Alexa
How does the information flow look like to complete the jobs-to-be-done? What decisions users need to make?
JTBD Conversation Flow
Instead of expressing system flow using visial information architecture, build system flow with “intents”, Alexa’s language.
Laundroom skill has 5 + 1 intents:
I explored the “wake word”, the “connector word”, and the “invocation name”.
Design the “slot” to bridge utterances and intents
Interaction Model Example
I came up with couple measures of success for this voice interface project:
Alexa becomes the primary use interface of Laundroom
Alexa learns user’s laundry-doing habit
Alexa learns about the context
Alexa learns about user’s talking preference over time
Rate of major entrance
Time of completion
Rate of suggestion adoption
Rate of user satisfaction
I used a bot platform to demonstrate the interaction between users and Alexa.