Empathy and Inclusion in Voice Design
Play • 54 min

The Future is Spoken presents Maaike Coppens as this week's guest. Maaike is an international Conversation Design Expert, speaker and co-author of the Voice UX Workbook. With a successful background in linguistics and UX design, Maaike found conversational design the perfect blend.

Over the last couple of years, Maaike has worked with award-winning agencies, large enterprises, and innovative companies worldwide. Eager to be part of a team with an opinionated take on Conversation Design, Maaike recently joined Greenshoot Labs - a chatbot and applied AI agency in the UK - as their Head of Conversational UX.

Tune in Now!

Conversation Highlights:

[02:54] The journey to Conversational UX….

● Maaike explains that we are constantly flipping the coin in the wrong way when designing experiences. 

● She had an academic path in linguistics. She then got deeper into UX. When conversational designing became more widespread, it was an ideal mix for her.

[05:35] Linguistics as a career?

● Maaike shares her perspective on choosing Linguistics as a career.

● It's great to see how conversation design has helped her think differently about human to human Conversations.

[08:44] The most important traits that a conversational Al must-have.

● Maaike explains that being flexible and being inclusive are essential traits. She also feels that relatability is also a necessary aspect for conversational Al or voice assistant.

● Accessibility and inclusivity are related, but they are not mutually exclusive.

[21:34] Enabling the disabled with Voice....

● She elaborates that when you are designing Voice assistants, empathy is critical. It is necessary to get those insights and research before doing any empathy exercises.

● Empathy becomes very important when backed up by user research.

● She still sees loads of difficulties around language proficiency. She says that instead of finding the next big thing, we should perfect the ones available.

[35:05] Reality of Voice Assistants

● She feels that if you adapt your human behaviour to technology, it is a sign that the technology is already broken.

● The industry is more reactive than being proactive in designing an inclusive solution. When amazon launched smart speakers, they never thought about disabled people.

[42:30] How can we design an inclusive solution?

● Maaike divulges what the designers can do to design an inclusive solution. She further instructs to get out of the bubble.

● She speaks that listening is the one vital skill that you need to have as a conversational designer.

[47:02] No Al without IA(Information Architecture)

● Maaike elaborates that Information Architecture is a significant part of conversational designing. It is about mapping the information available to you.

● Why do we forget the basics of UX?

● With the Information Architecture, researching and bringing in some of the UX processes into conversational designing can significantly change the experience.

[54:50] Must Listen

● Maaike's piece of advice for someone trying to get into the world of Voice.

Learn more about Maaike at

●      LinkedIn

●      Twitter

●      GreenShoot Labs

If you enjoyed this episode of The Future is Spoken Podcast, then make sure to subscribe to our podcast.

Follow Shyamala Prayaga at @sprayaga

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