Adobe Releases 2020 Voice/AI Report

Interview with Adobe's Mark Webster + two key pages included

Adobe released their 2020 Adobe Voice Survey this week, and it contains two pages of the 22-page report that particularly stood out.

With permission from Adobe, here they are below:

The general thesis of many working in or observing the voice/AI landscape is that regular consumers are yearning to do more, not less, with voice assistants, smart speakers, and related technology.

This page of the Adobe report confirms that, with a resounding 89% of those surveyed who said they would use voice in new ways if available.

This is the other page that really stood out to me within the report.

As enthusiastic as many readers of This Week In Voice VIP are about the future of voice tech and conversational AI, it’s far from a given that mainstream opinion would view voice as being a “safe” addition in the car. Could see that going either way.

This page puts that to rest. A vast majority of those surveyed clearly view voice as additive within the car, and want more of it, rather than less.

I had a chance to speak with Mark Webster, Director of Product for Adobe voice UI/UX, this week about this new report.

The questions, along with his answers, are below:

There's a number of conclusions made in this wide-ranging report. Which one to you is the most telling?

A core promise of voice technology has always been convenience – that it was easier to just ask for something instead of navigating through screens. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed what convenience means, including not having to touch a surface or pull down a mask to unlock your phone. In fact, one in three respondents count sanitation as a benefit of using voice technology.

With 86 percent of users noting voice technology could make visiting a business or attending an event feel more sanitary, voice technology could be a vital tool as we consider how to safely reopen our communities.

As someone who has been around the voice/AI ecosystem from early on, what obstacles are in the way to achieving better conversational AI like this report yearns for?

We need more creative thinking from those making digital products. Even with today’s technology, there is a lot more that could be done via voice, but it still needs to be designed and built. Voice, as an input and an output, should be considered a tool that can be used in any digital experience, not just when it can provide value to end-users.

Additionally, while 57 percent of users say accuracy is the most desired improvement in voice technology, “accuracy” is contextual. It could mean more accurate transcription, like for sending a message, or it can mean a task requested through voice was completed successfully. What a user perceives as poor accuracy may actually be a poorly designed experience. I believe users just want a better voice experience overall.

Share with us one "lesson learned" from Adobe creating the Adobe XD skill last year that has manifested itself in how Adobe has rolled out its Google action.

One takeaway from last year’s voice survey, which we released alongside the Adobe XD Alexa skill, is that voice design still has a long way to go. This year’s survey echoes that finding, though users are optimistic about their voice usage in the future.

Our goal with the Adobe XD Amazon skill was to provide designers with access to the medium of voice and have them be able to share their work with stakeholders in the design process using actual devices. That’s what we’ve seen. The latest integration with Google Assistant extends voice designers’ capabilities to prototype on Google Assistant devices, so designers can bring intuitive experiences to more users and platforms.

This week’s episode of This Week In Voice, the podcast, features a discussion of this new report from Adobe which picks up at the 25:35 mark.

Have a great weekend! And don’t forget to vote.

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