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What Is a Voice User Interface?

With each recent decade, we’ve seen a new form of human-computer interaction emerge and quickly become commonplace. People are now awakening to the vast potential of voice user interfaces (VUIs). A voice user interface is a technology that allows people to use their voices to interact with computers and devices.

Voice user interfaces are evolving much faster than their technological predecessors—punch cards, keyboards, mice, and touchscreens. As each new technology becomes capable and robust, it takes the bold, the brave, and the adventurous to show us what's possible. Visionary developers in all fields, from games to brand agencies, corporations to startups, are embracing voice and paving the way toward fully conversational, multimodal interactions that extend to mobile, wearables, and even virtual reality.

Trends Fueling the Rise of Voice

1. Web Services, IoT Have Opened Doors

Web services and the Internet of Things (IoT) provide ready-made opportunities for voice. For example, sensors and readouts make for natural smart-home integrations.

2. The Science Is Accessible

Now any developer can build software that implements cutting-edge advances from fields like automatic speech recognition (ASR), natural language understanding (NLU), and text-to-speech (TTS).

3. The Hardware Can Support the Use Case

Existing hardware can support far-field voice input processing (FFVIP), enabling a wider range of experiences with VUIs.

4. AI Is Making VUIs Smarter

Thanks to advances in machine learning, VUIs are learning and adapting to users’ speech patterns, preferences, and contexts over time.

VUIs: Inventing the Future

All of these advances are driving an inflection point in voice technology. But the core driver isn’t any technology; it’s us. We welcome voice experiences because we are wired for speech.

Consider setting a kitchen timer. Instead of twisting a dial with both hands, or pressing microwave buttons with a knuckle, you simply speak the words “Alexa, set a timer for 10 minutes.” Voice simplifies even the simplest experiences.

Start Building with the Alexa Skills Kit

There are many elements to voice design, but you don’t need to be an expert to start designing and building voice experiences. The Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) is a collection of self-service APIs and tools for making Alexa skills. Skills are like apps for Alexa, enabling customers to engage with your content or services naturally with voice.


Join hundreds of thousands of developers who are building Alexa skills to engage and delight customers on hundreds of millions of Alexa devices.

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