A few years ago I bought an Amazon Echo device for my mother, a seventy-year-old who had previously been reluctant to use the voice assistant on her phone. Fortunately, she showed interest in trying a standalone device to fulfill her daily queries about weather, stocks, and news, so I fitted her with two Echo devices, both of which became popular everyday tools almost immediately. Its success is due to Alexa’s unwavering ability to understand her incessant questions from the comfort of her sofa, along with the built-in ring of light that provides a friendly visual cue that her command or question has been heard.
Amazon’s more recent endeavors that Echo Show 10, builds on these earlier features and has a richer interactive toolkit that raises the bar for device and user interactivity in a much more personal way. The inclusion of a 10.1-inch HD screen and 36-degree swivel base that mimic identifiable motion cues that most people naturally understand compliments the cloud-computing-powered multimodal understanding capabilities of the Echo Show 10 with a touch of humanity.
The latest version of Alexa Presentation Language (APL), the visual design framework for Alexa used by developers to create interactive voice and visual experiences, has opened up a new area of user-device interaction with the earlier Stationary incarnations of the echo failed to express the addition of a trio of new gestures. For example, if you say to the Echo Show 10, “Alexa, have a nice day”, the device first performs a subtle movement before saying “Same with you”, followed by a “friendly” arching movement, which is the universal equivalent of a waving gesture .
As wrong as it may be, our minds have evolved to observe and respond to such physical cues, resulting in a device that not only feels able to listen, but may even have the ability to listen To take care of.
The Echo Show 10’s three new choreographed movements are associated with specific messages: Welcome, Confirmation, and Exit. More specifically, the Echo Show 10 can respond with a quick, bouncing movement on the right and left sides known as “Mixed Expressive Shakes”. A middle clockwise sweep is programmed to produce a measured clockwise sweep, while a slow counterclockwise counterclockwise sweep is the third of three new choreographed movement “choreos”.
After performing the Amazon Echo Show 10, we spoke to Prakash Iyer, Director of Software Development at Amazon, to discuss how his team approached these choreographed moves to communicate with a sense of “delight”.
One thing that I noticed is that the Echo Show 10 has a slight delay in responding. I was informed that your team made a deliberate decision after it was determined that a subtle but noticeable pause was providing users with a “much more pleasant” experience. Can you tell us why?
Early on in the development process, we realized that knowing when the Echo Show 10 shouldn’t be moving is just as important, if not more important, than knowing when to move. The challenge was to determine when movement is comfortable and when it is distracting. To ensure a smooth experience, the Echo Show 10 will not rotate until a customer is in a position while interacting with the device – this is by design. We’ve found it nervous and distracting to see the device moving every time a customer changes position.
What do you mean by “movement” [that] is adorable ”?
Our designers sat down and created a scale from mild to wild to measure the joy, intent, and purpose of the developmental movements. Then they considered what experiences they might associate these movements with, and ended up limiting themselves to a few that we found tasteful, delightful, and useful.
At the “wild” end of the spectrum, we decided not to start some experiences. For example, we had a move that did an elaborate dance in response to a failure condition. The choreo itself was pleasant, but the information communicated to the client did not seem obvious.
How much noise can the echo tolerate before it becomes a problem for the device to track a speaker?
Echo Show 10 uses a combination of audio-based localization and computer vision technologies to determine where the speaker is and rotates the screen in that direction. If there are multiple people in the room, the Echo Show 10 tries to center itself to see everyone in the room. Echo Show 10 does not respond to small movements, it only moves when there is some stability or when it has to move to keep an eye on the person (s).
How did the team come to complete this particular form? Were previous iterations noticeably different, or was this shape the primary basis for all exploratory shapes?
Echo Show 10’s design has a purpose. The base rotates so that the screen remains in view, no matter where you are in the room. As part of the device setup, all customers must go through device mapping to determine the range of motion for Echo Show 10. This allows the device to work in rooms of any size.
One thing we’ve heard from those who don’t use such responsive technology is the element of “creepiness” associated with a device that not only listens but is now watching. How did the team differentiate the movement in such a way that it is perceived as attentive and not as stalking?
Movement is on by default, but customers are in control of their experience. The Echo Show 10’s screen moves in two ways: rotating when you say the wake-up word, and during active interactive activities where movement is most useful, such as walking. B. on a video call or while watching a show on Prime Video. Customers are in control and can choose to leave motion on during all activities, select activities, set them to move only when specifically asked, or disable them entirely.
How detailed can developers customize the choreographed movement?
For now, we’re focusing on how developers plan to use the existing choreographed movements and have the potential to introduce more degrees of freedom in the future.
Today, developers can choose from the four choreographed movements available to customize their skill experience.
Noting that different countries and cultures communicate differently about movements, does the international version of the echo clearly have different movements?
Choreographed movements are the same internationally but have been developed with global communities in mind. For example, [the] “Alexa, have a nice day” movement that greets customers at the start of the day and follows the course of the sun – is a universal movement for customers everywhere.
Even if traditional greetings vary between cultures, such as a hug or a European kiss on the cheek, the movement of the sun is consistent.