A recent global survey revealed that 74% of all respondents had used voice search tools within the previous month, and estimated that voice search capabilities were already available on some 3.9 billion Apple, Android and Windows devices worldwide.
Interestingly, it also revealed that 63% of people who believed that they didn’t use AI technologies were unaware that voice search engines such as Siri or Alexa are powered by AI.
The scale and accelerating global use of voice search clearly has implications for how organisations become discoverable in a voice world. As voice is a medium with no screen, people are effectively bypassing the traditional search infrastructure. This completely changes the search dynamic – moving beyond the usual list of searches to typically provide only a single search result.
Like it or not, the widespread take-up of voice will have a significant impact on brands and their evolving use of SEO techniques. How, for example, do their stories and products become discoverable in a voice world? How do you get your products and services in front of customers? And how can you ensure that your Alexa, Cortana or Google Home ‘skills’ break through?
These concerns will of course directly impact the customer experience, particularly as brand owners try to evolve their journeys to accommodate the transition from traditional SEO techniques to voice search. SEO professionals will need to focus on skills discoverability rather than traditional search rankings, while UX specialists will also need to think about how they can best deploy existing web assets for voice.
Google’s aim is to develop voice search as ‘the ultimate mobile assistant … so that you can focus on the things that matter’. Context will be critical here, whether it’s through referencing a user’s previous searches, tracking their location, monitoring your app usage or tracking what’s actually on your device’s screen.
With voice search becoming more and more significant, it’s incumbent on UX designers and customer engagement professionals to start designing for voice.