Hey Lisa! Thanks for joining us for this chat. How are things going this week?
Things are going swell, thanks! I just returned from a three-day wedding which was possibly the best party I’ve been to in my existence. I did need to lie down for the next 48 hours though.
But back to Vixen Labs shenanigans: we’re approaching the last leg of a voice game we’ve been creating for the last half a year, so really looking forward to it going live.
Nice! Look forward to hearing more about that.
What does a standard day in the life of Lisa Hoàng, Voice Experience Designer, look like at the minute?
My work is quite varied and often involves juggling a few things at the same time, beginning with shovelling a bowl of Special K down me in the morning.
I start the day by taking a look at feedback from the developer on my existing designs and revising those, especially to check for logical consistencies in the user flows. It’s a creative role, too, so I will collaborate with copywriters to make sure that the content they’ve written works from a voice user experience perspective. For example: do users know what to say next if they hear a certain prompt when using a skill? All of these changes need to sync, of course.
In the afternoon I might be creating a test plan ahead of scheduling some user testing. This involves designing tasks for recruited participants to complete and observing how they behave with a prototype. Those insights are used to iterate on the existing flows until release, before looking at analytics to understand performance.
And that’s the day over. I shuffle off to a park for a quick evening walk or run depending on how my circulation is doing. I think I need to get a standing desk…
THE JOURNEY TO BECOMING A VOICE EXPERIENCE DESIGNER
What did you do before joining Vixen Labs?
I’ve always been in the tech industry but started my career in data analytics for web and mobile after uni (where I studied an even more unrelated field: chemistry).
Enjoyable as it was, I knew I wanted to be on the other side of the coin, using the analysed data to make product-related decisions and ultimately create something new that doesn’t exist in the world.
A combination of my enthusiasm for comedy (I’ll get to this later) and a masters in Human Computer Interaction Design led me to my current role as a voice UX designer.
SHARING WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A VOICE EXPERIENCE DESIGNER
I heard you recently had a stand at a careers fair! That’s super cool. What was the experience like?
It was really surreal to be back at a school. It’s great to see so many eager to start a career in technology at such a young age; I don’t think I was as forward-thinking as a teenager.
‘‘WHAT’S INTERESTING ABOUT THE VOICE SPACE IS HOW DIVERSE PEOPLES’ BACKGROUNDS ARE, FROM CREATIVE WRITERS TO SOFTWARE ENGINEERS.”
It surprised many when they heard that even writing screenplays was applicable to this field.
Do you think we’ll see more young people looking for careers in the voice technology industry in future?
Absolutely. It’s a nascent field now, but everyone has come across voice recognition in some capacity. I think there’s still huge untapped potential in the accessibility space, especially with multi-modality. There’s a lot that can be done to improve the state of tools that the visually- and motor-impaired rely on day-to-day, especially screen readers.
MORE ABOUT LISA BEHIND THE ROLE
I hear you’re a sailing fan – can you tell us more about that?
Yeah – I’m a dinghy sailor and try to get out most weekends when the weather permits, in docks, lakes or around the UK coast.The boat is small and prone to capsizing, so you have to stay alert to the wind at all time: when it picks up, you’re really put through your paces (including succumbing to concussion… long story).
I find it’s a great way to relax, and enjoy nature at the same time. You can find a fair few clubs in London by the riverside if you’re interested – though I recommend avoiding gulping down the river water if you take a dip.
Yikes, noted! Outside of the voice and sailing worlds, what do you get up to?
It’s got to be comedy. I carry a little notebook with me and scribble down jokes when I can to create material that I publish online. (I mean, I say ‘jokes’. Even my mum doesn’t find me funny.)
Comedy is, oddly, how I found my way to Voice UX design. There’s a certain audio cadence in the delivery of standup which differs from reading a written joke. It’s the same with designing for a voice interface, when going from a script to Alexa’s TTS voice.
Otherwise, I am just like any other mortal, on a sliding scale between theatre junkie and Netflix potato.
As always, to round us off, we have three quick-fire questions!
First up: Who in the voice industry would you love to swap places with for a day?
Ted Henter, founder of JAWS, the screen reader. He’s a pretty inspirational guy.
What’s your go-to energy or motivation boost?
Pacing around the living room with my hands behind my back like a wise old man. I just hope the wisdom emerges.
Share a gif that best represents you…
Thanks for joining this interview, Lisa! Where can people find you if they’d like to connect?
Drop it like it’s hot. (Is that professional to say?)
If you fancy working with Lisa and the rest of the team, check out our Careers page.
OTHER ARTICLES IN THIS SERIES
Meet more of the Vixen Labs team:
Non-Executive Director Stephen Waddington