How might we use personal digital assistants to manage our daily routine in the future?


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Overview:

Apps have become a part of the daily life of millions of people around the world. These apps help their users navigate their busy lives. However, many users still complain about lacking, personal time because they are occupied with tedious tasks. In tackling this problem, Google's machine learning will bring conversational user interface (UI) to new heights by utilizing Artificial intelligence (AI) which will minimize the time spent on tedious tasks. However, to keep its lead in AI, Google needs to redesign its core services: it needs to bridge the gap between AI and its core service by making its “Google Assistant" likable.

Weiting Guo, Yue Yuan

This project was done in the Interaction Design program at School of Visual Arts and was sponsored by Google.

Team:

My Role:

I was working with Ryan Vernon, an interaction designer at Google, to explore machine learning's potential for bringing a future filled with conversational UI. I have collaborated with two other design students on features development, design principle, game theory and user story.

I also acted as such as Design Strategist, Researcher, and Prototyper.


Background

Understand different perspectives

Personal digital assistant is a broad term. We need to brainstorm product plan whether feasible and viable. We asked ourselves, what does a digital assistant mean to people? We set millennials as our target audience. To learn about different perspectives, we went out to the street and talked to people.


Design process

Discover

Many of us are receiving so many emails that we can never read them all, and it’s overwhelming our ability to do our work. Therefore, it is easy to miss an important message.
— Nathan Zeldes from Information Overload Research Group
People in our lives these days live in different countries and time zones, so it’s really hard to figure out what time fits us well to meet online. Usually, I have to ‘negotiate’ with my friends
— Ruth, Graduate Student

AI Assistant should be like a personal assistant, a spouse, or a cultural curator

Based on field research, users are occupied with a lot of routine, daily tasks and don't have time for things they truly enjoy.

The AI Assistant should have an intimate, personalized relationship with its user. It should know what the user needs in his/her daily life. It should be like a personal assistant, a spouse, or a cultural curator who takes care of the many routine tasks for its user.

Deeper Insights

Current experience: People use Siri to accomplish simple tasks like opening apps, making calls, setting reminders, finding out basic facts and telling jokes.     

Current behavior

  • When asked a question, Siri does only a website search. As users can do that by themselves, many avoid using Siri for this task. 
  • For most questions, Siri doesn’t have answers.

What are the difficulties?

  • Most people heavily rely on email and use it extensively for work.
  • Most people use multiple calendars to manage their events and tasks.
  • The notifications for these events and tasks pop up at the same time, which confuses and overwhelms the users.  
 Identified and grouped different pain points and behaviors

Identified and grouped different pain points and behaviors


Define

Problems

  Not meeting expectation   It turns out that the majority of people we talked to have used digital personal assistants such as Siri and Google Assistant. But, these two currently only allow users to ask simple questions as a result, the users end up feeling annoyed and not satisfied with their help.

Not meeting expectation

It turns out that the majority of people we talked to have used digital personal assistants such as Siri and Google Assistant. But, these two currently only allow users to ask simple questions as a result, the users end up feeling annoyed and not satisfied with their help.

  Not willing to take extra steps   On the other hand, current users of digital assistants would like to use a service that gets the job done efficiently. Users are unwilling to make extra efforts in explaining their problems, so the digital assistant should be smart and proactive.

Not willing to take extra steps

On the other hand, current users of digital assistants would like to use a service that gets the job done efficiently. Users are unwilling to make extra efforts in explaining their problems, so the digital assistant should be smart and proactive.

Reframing the problem:

How can we help users have a better experience in taking care of their many daily tasks?

Users spend a lot of time on digital devices because they need these devices to send emails and texts, and to schedule events with friends and family. They need a seamless and effective way to get things done, and at times, helps with making a better decision. As people use their devices for both their private and personal life, they need assistance that effectively helps them maintain work and life balance. 


Design

The Google Assistant Redesign

  • What if the Google Assistant could be more intuitive and proactive about users' concerns?
  • What if it could provide meaningful suggestions on how its users can handle their daily tasks, get things done, and work across different platforms?
  • What if Google Assistant allowed its users to integrate 3rd party apps and services into one platform?

Personality

Give character to your personal assistant

 1. Dress up according to occasion/festival

1. Dress up according to occasion/festival

 
 2. Name your assistant, personalize face, hair and clothes

2. Name your assistant, personalize face, hair and clothes

Emotion/Tone

causal mode.png
working mode.png

Proactive

proactive.png

Suggestive

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Deliver

We focused on helping users minimize their frustration with cumbersome tasks in their daily lives. For example, people use scheduling apps to plan their day or organize their appointments.However, using some of these apps actually takes up a lot of time. This is where AI comes in.

Our solution is to tightly integrate a wide range of services with Google Assistant. By centralizing services and creating a unified and conversational assistance format, our solution will help users get things done efficiently. This new and improved AI assistant will speed up email management, quickly figure out optimal times for group conferences, and better communicate with contacts from various social media channels.

Design Principle

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  • Without first being prompted by the users, it intuitively and proactively tells users what they are concerned with (e.g. upcoming events or important tasks mentioned in email threads), 
  • Provides meaningful suggestions for users tackling daily tasks.

  • Allows users to integrate apps and services into one platform and frees them from having to switch back and forth from different apps.

  • Gets things done by and handling a multitude of tasks across a number of platforms and devices.

Storyboard