Talking is one of the most natural forms of communication. And it’s no wonder why as we’ve had so much practice. It’s believed talking – in a recognisable form – began almost 500,000 years ago with our Neanderthal predecessors. The link between modern humans and our ancient kin that lead to this conclusion is the fact we both share the hyoid bone. The hyoid is a horse-shape bone that sits high in our throat. Its purpose is to act as an anchoring structure for the tongue and is thus essential for swallowing, coughing… and the creation of sounds. Which becomes important when designing voice experiences for brands.
We’ve grown up with language and speaking almost our entire lives, learning to speak around the same time we take our first steps and developing subtle nuances along the way. The manner in which we speak – as well as body language and physical actions – plays a big role in how we communicate. Which makes it hard to replicate in code.
But let’s face it, humans aren’t going to change how they communicate anytime soon so for voice assistants to be successful we have to teach them to speak the way we do: human. Not robot.