Greg Hedges, RAIN

Greg Hedges, RAIN

Greg Hedges, RAIN’s Chief Experience Officer, sits at the crossroads of creativity, technology and strategy. Hedges has spent the past 20 years shaping, designing and developing interactive experiences for clients of all shapes and sizes including Stanley Black & Decker, American Express, Unilever, Pfizer, Campbell Soup Company, Yahoo!, National Retail Federation, PepsiCo, Starbucks, Walmart, & Amazon. He also spent several years teaching graphic design as part of the faculty at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.

The Design Of Emotionally Intelligent Voice Experiences

Voice assistants have quickly become a part of the zeitgeist as conversational technology has taken hold at a global level. However, as natural as using our voice to communicate with these assistants is, the interaction we have with these voice experiences can often feel very, well, unnatural. But why is that?

One could contend that the reason these conversations can feel unnatural is that there is a distinct difference between being able to understand and to comprehend.

This talk will focus on the theory and the practical application of how to design emotionally intelligent voice experiences. The ability to utilize empathy, to build an emotional connection with those that we speak with and in turn build a relationship with, is what separates people from the machines. So, since we are the ones creating these voice experiences, can’t we do a better job of imbuing them with empathy? Said differently, can we design voice experiences to be not just functionally intelligent, but so that they are also inherently emotionally intelligent?

The answer is that we absolutely can, and more importantly, should be designing for EQ in voice. I’ll introduce a framework I’ve developed with a colleague that those considering a voice experience can utilize in order to build an emotionally aware interaction with their consumers. We’ll discuss topics like motivation, inquiry, exploration, as well as using context and familiarity as means to build bonds with users via voice that strengthen with each conversation.


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