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Speak and Be Heard—The Web Is (Almost) Ready to Listen


When touchscreens first entered the technology marketplace, we were thrilled to have devices that could interact with our taps and swipes. But as more and more devices are becoming Wi-Fi compatible – from our phones and tablets to our cars and watches – it’s our voice, not our fingers, that’s poised to rule the Web of the future.

The Audible Web

Up until this point, the Web has been mostly designed for those who can see it—with almost-complete disregard for the other senses. Now, with the rise of wearable technology and the “Internet of Things,” the focus of web design and development is shifting from how it looks to how it responds to you.

According to an article in Forbes earlier this year, “A newfound emphasis is being placed on not only how a website looks, but also how it can be more naturally interacted with … New audible interaction methods and API standards could be poised to usher in a new generation of Web technology. … At the heart of this transformation is a new crop of technologies focused on natural language interaction through the use of verbal commands.”

At long last: the rise of The Audible Web.

What Does the Audible Web Look … errr … Sound Like?

The audible Web is like having the same kind of voice recognition software you’ve already encountered with Apple’s Siri or Google Now on every website you visit or app you use. With the audible Web, you don’t type a URL into your Web browser; you command it to go there. You don’t click around to find the information you’re looking for on a website, you simply ask for it and the website pulls it up for you.

Thanks to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), an international community that develops open standards to ensure the long-term growth of the Web, “We are now beginning to see the emergence of a new generation of Web-focused speech systems that are as easy to implement and use as building a simple HTML Web page.”

And, just like that, speech will become an expected component of every new website. The same way having a search bar or responsive design are expected today.

Voice Recognition and Rich-Media Advertising

In addition to designing websites with audio capability, the audible Web has additional implications for advertisers and marketers.

Adding voice to apps and ads only makes it easier for consumers to interact. Looking up a menu for a new restaurant? Just say the word and you’re making a reservation. Checking out a wool winter scarf online? Ask to see it in red without ever lifting a finger.

And the speak-and-be-heard Web of the future is not as far off as it might seem. In fact, JetBlue already created a mobile ad that asks a series of questions and allows customers to provide answers with their voices.

Some digital trend analysts suggest that voice is the ultimate form of engagement. With voice recognition, your potential customers can simply speak their personal information into a webpage, ad, or app, rather than having to tap it all out into data fields. By making interaction as easy as speaking into a phone, the likelihood of participation increases and the door opens for improved and increased brand engagement.

As for us here at The Brandon Agency, we’re keeping the beat on the latest digital trends so our clients can capitalize on them at the earliest opportunity. When the Web starts listening, we’re here to make sure it’s your brand’s voice that gets heard.

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