Apps Interfaces as a spectrum.

This week was an interesting week, I felt that I finally spoke with another designer who got what I’ve been trying to explore when thinking about Apps with multiple input types. His words just spoke to me. I was on Club house room listening and chatting about Conversational Apps and this guy was just on same wave length as myself. He was explaining , that is not all about Speakers or Phones but the range between all form factors.

I’ve always felt that designing Skills and Action was a team effort, much like creating a movie, you need a good script (Conversational Designer) structure & visuals (UX/UI), audio (Audio Producer) & Product Owner (director so to speak or reason for the product to solve). When you have all 4 plus a good user case you can create a great app, skill or action. With that said all 4 have to understand the strengths that come with each focus or interaction type.

I’ve only experience this a couple of times. I have had the experience where visual people don’t understand Audio or scripts, where Copy writers don’t get visuals/UX and where UX designers don’t understand what platform they are desiring for. Just like I’ve tried to better understand the world of devs and how I can support their work with the right documentation and clarity of assets to build these ideas. I had have explore the Conversational copywriting design patterns and take the time to learn about audio production and how to built them into a spectrum of an idea or Intent that can be broken down.

Let me explain a little further. A couple of years ago I was following along at an Google IO and there were these 2 slides from a Google Keynote me dig it out and explain.

These two slides show are a thinking of designing 1 experience across multiple touch points across a platform. The idea has to work across all form types and normally it does with a little tweaking. Ever since I saw these slides it has informed my approach to designing Skills and Actions. Where just designing for a Audio experience feels limiting but with that said just designing for Visual touch experience doesn’t bring the advantages of Voice commands or simply Voice to text.

For my thought of process this has filtered back into pure apps. For example an app should work with Visually impaired users just like they work with touch forced users, allowing them flexibility to achieve their desired outcomes as quickly as possible. As devices start to be able to recognise more Audio based events this bring new possible triggers.

Seeing apps as an has ecosystems and not as Phones limited with by just touch starts to making you wondering… What if we could do this … . Once you start thinking of all the touch points, very much like a UX Customer Journey you find your self thinking… what if we started an on iPhone, the went to my car and arrived and checked my order with my watch.

This unsiloed approach isn’t exactly new but I doesn’t feel to be widely employed. If I am designing for a Phone, I should be able to design for a Speaker experience at the same time or if I am designing for Voice Action I should be thinking if it needs any visuals or is okay just to be an audio response.

The slide on right further informed how to break down an experience, designing for everything but catering for devices that might not have a touch screen or have a screen at all. Allowing you to cover as many device types but designing in single moment.

When designing apps for Apple or Google, this brings me to designing experiences that can be broken down from working on a on Watch, Phone, Tablet, Mac, TV, Cars – which now very much seem to e the same thing to adding Siri shorts and Intents to Apps that work across these 6 form factors.

Without going all singularity on your guys, you can limit some of your ambition around this by focusing the features of an ecosystem. Such as iOS and Android or Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa Skill types. If you are designing an App for iOS that works on iPad, look after the landscape nd Portrait assets. make sure the assets are taken from iPhone and expand on a ratio. Small things to think about that let the user have a pleasant experience when going for their different devices. This idea can be taken a lot further but its small things that show a user that a brand looking after them.

Once you see it things as ecosystem you see the possibilities of experiences that are all linked up. Iets see were this week goes.