Category Archives: Voice control

The voices you can’t ignore

From the first WAP phones of the late nineties (Nokia 7110 anyone?), and the introduction of the game changing iPhone in 2007, the idea that users can have on-demand connectivity to the internet on a portable device has led a drive for better, faster devices. Before the iPhone, the trend was ‘the smaller, the better’, but with today’s feature rich devices, the image quality and resolution is important. Screens are getting bigger, but to what end?

While screens are getting bigger, using a keyboard on a phone is not getting any easier. We can’t wait for human evolution catch up, and our fingers become small enough to interact with these devices easily.

Luckily, we don’t have to wait that long, as voice services are here. For several years, the technology just hasn’t been there to allow a machine to understand what you say to it. However, that piece is generally agreed to have been cracked (with some notable exceptions), and with the release of services such as Amazon’s Transcribe to the developer community, it’s never been easier to convert speech to text, and to build these services into our apps and devices. Machine learning as a service allows the transcriptions to get better over time, as the systems learn and build contextual vocabularies to make these faster, more accurate, and with a far higher degree of confidence.

The Growth of Voice

This has been, and will continue to be, much more of a sea-change than the mobile ‘revolution’ has been. Considering how slowly the need for mobile-first, responsive websites was realised amongst brands and creative agencies, the rapid emergence of voice searches is something that can’t be shrugged off. At the very least, if you’re not optimising your web assets for voice, you will be left trailing in the wake of those brands that do. Consider the following statistics:

“50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020”, according to comscore

“As of January 2018, there were an estimated one billion voice searches per month”, according to Alpine.AI.

“60% of people using voice search have started in the last year”, according to MindMeld

“We estimate that 325.8 million people used voice control in the past month”, according to Global Web Index

“47% expect their voice technology usage to increase”, according to ComScore

If you want this massive potential audience to discover your content and engage with your brand, you have to act now.

This doesn’t mean just making your web pages ‘readable’. Publishers already understand that content needs to be optimised for mobile, and the same is true when delivering your content in response to voice searches. A predominantly mobile audience does not want to be presented with a lot of hi-resolution video content, and audio users certainly don’t want to be presented with pages of turgid prose. Audio optimised pages need to be highly relevant, concise and punchy in tone, not delivered like a lecture.

Every piece of content you publish must have not just a omni-channel audience in mind, and publishers need to be aware of the need to engage with their audience in different ways at different times. This presents a challenge to publishers, but it is one that is easily met. There are many Content Management Systems that can publish ‘versions’ of a page, but these are mostly oriented at a visual audience – delivering different content depending on device type and/or screen size.

Where to start?

The open-source content management framework Drupal, in its latest release, has opted to largely separate the Content aspect from the delivery piece. This means Drupal is more than just a tool for building websites (indeed, if that’s all you want to do, Drupal is probably not the solution you are looking for). Drupal is built with integrations in mind, and supports a large number of APIs straight out of the box. This API-first approach means you can have a central application, publishing content to all of your channels; traditional web, social media, mobile apps and voice searches. You can build your applications in any technology you want – and your users will never have to interact with Drupal at all. This separation of the content from the presentation is known as headless, or de-coupled architecture, and is the way forward.

Drupal is an ideal tool for the job. You can construct content that have ‘flavours’ optimised for any audience, whoever and wherever they are. A properly architected system allows you to track any individual’s interaction with all of your content, on all devices.This helps you build a very detailed profile of all of your viewers. This insight allows you to further personalise the experience, delivering the content your audience wants. Utilising machine learning algorithms, you can constantly improve this experience over time.

We’re technology agnostic but solution focused

Nitro Digital have been working with Drupal for over 6 years. We have a number of highly skilled, Acquia certified developers, site Builders and Solution Architects with a combined experience of nearly 60 years. We can help you achieve the outcomes you want, and look forward to understanding your problem in more detail.

Please call us on +44 (0) 207 148 6821, or contact us here to talk to an expert.