How to build the future of voice?
Play • 50 min

The Future is Spoken presents Jeff Blankenburg as this week’s guest. Jeff spent the early part of his career in digital advertising, building websites for Victoria’s Secret, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Ford Motor Company, among others.

 He also spent 8 years at Microsoft, primarily as an evangelist for any new technology he could get his hands on. Today, he works on the Amazon Alexa team helping developers make Alexa even smarter. Jeff has also spoken at conferences all over the world, including London, Munich, Sydney, Tokyo, and New York, covering topics ranging from software development technologies to soft skill techniques.

 Starting with their own experiences, they end up answering questions like "How to build the future of voice?"

 Tune in Now to find your answers! 

Conversation Highlights:

[00:23] From phycology to Alexa Evangelist

●       Jeff explains how he got out of the school, actually with a degree in psychology. And thought that was the path he was going to go down before he realized software was really where he wanted it to be.

●       He also speaks about the idea of a voice enabled assistant he had came up at Microsoft.

And when he saw the actual product at Amazon, it was like a fascination to him.


[03:23] Ambient computing is the future!

●       His fascination towards ambient computing can be clearly seen from his virtues.

●       They discuss about how the computing power can help us to do everything right.


[06:08] Should Voice enable more people?

●       Jeff stresses on how the technology can help the disabled people to live a better life.


[08:38] What is the 'One breath test'?

●       He also touches on some of the limitations of voice assistants and how they can solve many problems just by summarizing the content.


[12:03] How about Contextual Designing?

●       Jeff thinks that instead of developing something new and trying to make it work, one need to be able to take a step back. One need to be able to say, what are the paths that he expects his user to take through this experience and make sure that they have those in a nice, structured way.

●       Conversational design is a great way to think about this. What are the main things that your user's are going to do? This let you define the core experiences pretty easily.


[14:24] Ensuring everything has been tested out!


[16:49] Beta testing is the key to the future of voice.

●       By being able to define not only a starting position, but also an outcome, and then validating that against your skill is really a valuable tool in being able to set these tests as part of your user design.

●       Jeff touches on how these tests are a crucial way to determine what the final product will look like?


[18:39] Localizing Alexa?

●       Jeff says that to localize Alexa they definitely need someone who is fluent in that local language. So, they are solving this problem in a couple of different ways.

●       He also explains an intriguing way of being unique that forces the users to listen.


[22:56] Where is the gap?


[27:23] Can Conversation Designing become a modem through which people could enable discoverability?


[28:31] Dealing with the unexpected…..

●       Jeff stresses on the ways in which Alexa is designed to deal with unexpected things. Bein

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