In late 2016, Gartner predicted that “by 2020, 30% of web browsing sessions will be done without a screen.” Comscore likewise predicted that by 2020 “half of all searches will be voice searches.” Though there’s recent evidence to suggest that the 2020 picture may be more complicated than these broad stroke projections imply, as of 2019 we’re already seeing the impact that voice search, artificial intelligence, and smart software agents like Alexa and Google Assistant are making on the way information is found and consumed on the web.
In addition to the indexing function that traditional search engines perform, smart agents and AI powered search algorithms are now bringing two additional modes of accessing information into the mainstream: aggregation and inference. As we’ll see through examples drawn from healthcare, government, and education, a design effort that focuses on creating effective “pages” is no longer sufficient to ensure the integrity or accuracy of content published to the web. Rather, by focusing on providing access to information in a structured, systematic way that is legible to both humans and machines, we can capitalize on innovations in voice and AI, whether or not we’re producing chatbots or tapping into AI directly.
This presentation frames content in its dual roles as narrative and data, illustrates the changes that we face as designers in the burgeoning age of voice UI and AI, and introduces simple techniques attendees can use to advocate for and introduce structured content in their own work.
About the speakers
Andy Fitzgerald is an independent Information Architecture and Content Strategy consultant with applied expertise in structured content design and knowledge graph engineering. He works with mission-driven organizations to craft information design solutions that communicate complexity clearly, align business and user goals, and scale effectively over time.
Prior to forming his own practice, Andy held design and director positions with Frog Design and Deloitte Digital where he tackled the problem of effective communication in complex information spaces for a wide range of client organizations in healthcare, education, financial services, retail, entertainment, and transportation. Andy is an active member of the IA and experience design communities and has spoken and led workshops at UX and IA conferences all over the world.