- Adobe has expanded Adobe XD, its software tool for designing user experiences (UX) for web and mobile apps, to support prototype creation of voice-powered skills for Amazon's Alexa, per an announcement shared with Mobile Marketer.
- Designers can now preview voice prototypes on any Alexa-enabled device, such as the Echo Dot or Echo Show. The new Amazon Alexa XD plugin lets designers export prototypes to Alexa, helping to demonstrate them to clients or other stakeholders and possibly shortening the development cycle. Adobe has also introduced its first skill for the virtual assistant.
- Amazon Alexa's XD plugin and the Adobe skill for Alexa build upon XD's existing voice prototyping capabilities introduced last year at Adobe Max, the company's annual conference for designers and developers.
With the Alexa integration, Adobe aims to help designers, developers and creators in the growing field of creating voice-activated skills, as apps for Amazon's virtual assistant are known. Adobe revealed that almost all (94%) surveyed users of voice technology said it was easy to use, saving time and improving their quality of life, per findings shared with Mobile Marketer.
However, there's still room for improvement in voice-based apps, especially in handling complex tasks. More than half (61%) of respondents said they wouldn't use voice tech for banking, while 52% wouldn't use it to book travel. In addition, more than half of survey respondents said the process of using voice technology was non-intuitive, with 49% saying they sometimes don't know where to begin accomplishing a task.
Smartphones are actually the most popular device for using voice technology at 85% of users, ahead of smart speakers, Adobe found. Most users (80%) said visual elements would help them use voice technology for a wider variety of tasks, with 83% saying a screen that shows the text of a voice command to confirm understanding would be helpful.
Adobe's tools for Alexa come as Amazon commands about 61% of the U.S. market for smart speakers, which grew by 40% last year to 66.4 million users, per a survey by Voicebot.ai and Voicify. In addition, about 28,000 devices from 4,500 brands work with Alexa, Amazon said in January. That growth has fueled the demand for Alexa skills, especially among marketers and brands that seek to reach customers through voice-enabled channels.
Adobe recommends that brands pay attention to the context of using voice technology to create more intuitive and natural-feeling interactions that ultimately drive greater user adoption and comfort. About a quarter (24%) of marketers in North America have launched a voice app such as a skill for Alexa or an action for Google Assistant, per a survey by Vociebot.ai and Voices.com. Another 10% of marketers said they expect to introduce a voice app either this year or next, bringing the total to 34% by the end of 2020.
Amazon is the leader in voice apps among marketers. Eighty-three percent of marketers with a voice app launched an Alexa skill, compared with 47% for a Google action, the survey found.